Foundation of Worship II

Foundation of Worship II

The Jewish scriptures together with the sense of justice that God breathed into each one of us makes it clear that the foundation of our worship is the fact that we are completely dependent upon our Creator who is the Author of all existence.

Once this fact is established, it becomes obvious why the Christian claim for the incarnation of Jesus is actually an attempt to redefine the very basis of worship. The scenario proposed by the theology of Christianity, in which Creator takes on the form of created – and demands worship in that form – is in effect claiming that worship is not rooted in our dependence upon the Author of all existence. “Creator”, by definition means the one to whom worship is due, while “created” means the one who owes the worship. By saying that Creator became created that is like saying that the One to whom worship is due became one who owes worship and has no right to demand the devotion that is owed to Creator alone – unless we redefine worship.

There are still some details that require some clarification.

Some Christians seem to be confused by the term “created” as applied to Jesus. The Nicene Creed asserts that Jesus was not “created”. Since, according to these theologians, Jesus was not created, he could then still rightly demand worship.

What these theologians have done is that they have redefined the term “created”.

No-one saw God create the world. What we do see is a finished world which could not have created itself. The very fact that we exist in the form that we do, namely as a dependent existence, testifies to every human conscience that we were created – all of us and everything that exists between heaven and earth. Furthermore, the testimony of Israel concerning the miracles of the exodus and the Sinai revelation confirm this truth; that the Master and Creator of all of nature is the One who exists above and beyond all of the limitations of nature.

Jesus was a man; to put it in the terms of Christian theology – he was one hundred percent human. That is what his disciples saw and that is what is described in the writings of the Christian Scriptures. To take one human and deny that the status of “created” applies to him is in effect to deny all of nature its status as “created”. It is a rejection of the testimony of our conscience together with a rejection of the testimony of Israel.

Another detail that could use some clarification is presented as a question in the comment section of the previous post. If I understood the question correctly it runs roughly as follows: Of-course we owe our devotion to God because He created us, but isn’t it also true that we owe our devotion to Him because He is supremely holy? Because He is supremely righteous and merciful? Aren’t these sentiments also a part of our worship?

The point here is; that while God cannot imbue a created being with the quality of Creator because that would be a contradiction in terms, but can’t He present these qualities of Himself in a context where the quality of “Creator” is not present? In other words, while Jesus could not have been an embodiment of Creator but perhaps he was an embodiment of God’s holiness – without becoming “created” or “Creator”.

The first response to this question would be the point articulated above – the very fact that Jesus existed in God’s world tells us that he was “created’ and not “Creator” and not “neither Creator nor created”. The very fact that Jesus breathed God’s air tells us that he was one who owes all worship and cannot rightly demand worship that is due to the Author of his existence.

But there is yet another concept that needs to be articulated.

The qualities of God are inseparable. God is the Ultimate Merciful One precisely because He is the Creator. He is supremely holy because He stands outside of nature and He is completely righteous because He is an independent existence.

As dependent beings all of us who exist between heaven and earth can only share the blessings that God showered upon us – we can’t create new blessings. Our kindness is only a relative term when seen against the backdrop of God’s mercy. God’s mercy is limitless because He is limitless.

Holiness is the separation from all pettiness and self-interest. Only the One who intrinsically needs nothing can truly be separate from all self-interest. Perfect righteousness is only possible by the One who brought every detail into existence and who has intimate knowledge of every action and thought that ever existed and that will ever exist – together with the ability to deal with every detail with unlimited power. It is only the Creator of all who constantly sustains all that can be called intrinsically righteous.

I will take the liberty of quoting from “The Elephant and the Suit” to close this article.

“The Jewish people are married to their Creator. They pledged their hearts towards the Maker of heaven and earth, and promised Him that they will not allow their hearts to be led astray by any of His subjects. We bask in the shine of God’s holy radiance. We are overwhelmed by the truth of God’s absolute reality, by His absolute Mastery over everything in heaven and earth, by the love God demonstrated in creating us, and by the tenderness of His holy embrace we sense in the benevolence of every facet of our own existence and in the existence of every fellow inhabitant of heaven and earth. What does the life and death of a mortal inhabitant of God’s earth have to offer to us? How meaningless are the activities of flesh and blood when contrasted with the all-encompassing love and truth of the Master of all?”

http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/The-Elephant-and-the-suit.pdf

https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/isaiah-44/

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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156 Responses to Foundation of Worship II

  1. Yedidiah says:

    Your quote; “…and promised Him they will not allow their hearts to be led astray by any of His subjects…”. The earthly Jesus was a subject as are evangelists.

    Your quote; “Holiness is the separation from all pettiness and self-interest”. I see the major emphasis in many churches is “salvation” and the reason why many people turn to religion is primarily to be “saved from their sins”. To often I see preaching which deals with petty issues and dealing with the “self interest of ‘getting saved’ and then using that self-interested fear to keep the people in churches.

    I will give a verses from the NT and a few comments or questions about the verses. Does the NT speak of honoring the Creator? A few times; Revelation 4:11 (ESV)
    “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” I do wonder what this version means by God receiving power? From who? And watch the use of Lords in some translations, for often Lord means Jesus as distinct from God.

    Often in the NT you see the word “heir”, often with the “son” in mind (is God dead or is the “son” going to take over and God, our Father, will soon retire?). In Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) we read, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand…”. Based on an earlier verse, the “he” probably means God here. Is Paul or the author, promoting “works” here instead of the usual “faith”? The NT also uses like “in”, “through”‘ or “for” a lot when speaking of Jesus, which suggests a separation between Jesus and the Creator. Notice that God was the One who prepared the way & work. But also notice that we (or rather, they, the believers) who are already created are now “created in Jesus” although we (and not just they) are Gods prior workmanship. God’s earlier work or His Creation was perhaps flawed and “believers” get a chance to be re-created?

    Colossians 1:12-15 (ESV), “…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”

    In verses of Colossians above, first we see that the thanks goes to the Father, not the son. Now we are inheritors (but, of prior “saints”). He (meaning the Father) delivered us, but then God “transferred” (?) us to His “offspring’s” kingdom. Now this “he” is Jesus, who is an “image” of God (like we created humans are also) and then we get a little bit of Gnosticism. Notice Jesus is “the firstborn of all creation”, so either we and rocks are all “Jesus”, or more likely or more plainly, Jesus was created, like we and rocks, except he was just the first being or thing created by the Creator, the Father. And then there is the “through” and “for” again. “Through him” sounds as if Jesus was a “creation machine”; God inputs, Jesus does the work, and we are the output. And our creation is only done, because for some reason Jesus needed was created (so he can have servants like God and so he also gets a kingdom like God?). Maybe other NT versions are clearer, but who is the 3 “hims” in verse 16? I’m assuming the first is the Creator and not Jesus (or is Jesus his own “first-born”?). If the first “him” is Jesus, then the word “through” makes no sense. Either way, I see major problems because people want to make Jesus equal to God.

    • Shalom Yedidiah,
      I appreciate your keen observation of Revelation 4:11 (ESV). Let me help your interpretation. You said, “I do wonder what this version means by God receiving power? From who?”
      God is already All Powerful, don’t need any power from anybody, right?
      Then, what does it mean? I believe the anwer is in the previous verse. “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and CAST THEIR CROWNS before the throne, saying…” (v.10)
      Before the throne of God, the elders felt so unworhty even wearing the crowns on their heads, although God has bestowed those crowns upon them. So they wanted to give even that awards to GOD! ALL- ALL- Glory give to God! So they cast (Balou in Greek) their CROWNS which symbolize glory- honor- power to God and they sing “God is worthy to receive (Lambanou in Greek)” Receive what? Receive the crowns of glory, honor, and power which was so uncomfortable and so unworthy to them.

      “watch the use of Lords in some translations, for often Lord means Jesus as distinct from God.” You are right. Christians sometimes confuse and misinterpret. It is because there are slight differences of vowel; LORD (God)= אֲדֹנָי (Adonay with vowel kamatz)
      lord=master (אדֹנִי adoni, or adonai with vowel patach). It was not the Jewish disciples of Yeshua but gentile christians who misinterpreted lord and LORD. The New Testament is inerrant in using the Hebrew term.

      //Based on an earlier verse, the “he” probably means God here.//
      Yes, it does mean “God.”

      //Is Paul or the author, promoting “works” here instead of the usual “faith”?//
      Yes, He always promote good works and obedience to Torah like Moshe, like prophets, like Yeshua. His theology is not replacement of works of Torah by faith, rather promotions of works of Torah in different mindset. Not like slaves who fear of condemnation when broke the commandments of the master, but like sons and daughters who freely observe the commandments of their father.

      //The NT also uses like “in”, “through”‘ or “for” a lot when speaking of Jesus, which suggests a separation between Jesus and the Creator. Notice that God was the One who prepared the way & work//
      Amen. What is the meaning of “good works, which God hath before ordained (or prepared)” in Ephesians 2:10?
      The list of good works is not something newly invented by Yeshua.
      It is the Torah God has already ordanined to the Israelites and prepared and preserved by Jews!

      Christology of Colossians SEEMS to say that Yeshua was God. However, the author did not say that. If you put “Word of God- John 1:1 ” in the place where it seems to say Yeshua, it makes sense. Notice it did not say “He is the first- creation of all creations”
      It said “first-protos” + “born-tiktou) = firstborn (proto tokos) which means he was someone who came out of God, not someone created by God. Human logic of conception and giving birth does not work with God. I hope this helps!

      • Yedidiah says:

        Casting their crowns is more of an action of submission than of a transferance of human power to God which is what receiving power would mean. Next, Lord in the NT is translated from the Greek & not from Hebrew terms. Next, I was asking about Paul promoting “works”, not He or God promoting “works”. Next, the NT doesn’t always us “in”, “though”, or “for”. In Ephesians, why would you think I was suggesting Jesus invented “good works”? Creation is equivalent to being born (in the metaphorical sense) unless you are speaking more literally & God is some type of substance that God gives up as a human female gives birth or are you suggesting Jesus was the first born Cain?

        • if “casting their crowns” is submission, who ordered or commanded them to do it? if it is act of submission, they would put down, not cast! if it is “transfer,” they would give or put the crown on God, not cast. we know it is act of humbleness and yielding in front of a majestic figure so that only one receive the all the highlights, attentions, and glory, honor, and power.

  2. Annelise says:

    I totally agree with you that for the Creator to take on the form of a created being and demand worship in that form is foreign to anything expected or allowed in the context of the Jewish covenant and scriptures.

    But that doesn’t mean that Christians think that God became created. You’ve been writing accurately in this article about the fact that for God to ‘become’ an object within nature would be a distortion of what worship is rooted in: the relationship between dependent ones and our Creator. The thing is that Jesus wasn’t an object. He was a human, a person, and humans are created to be complex even while each being a unified self. Somehow, Christians believe that a fully human nature (body, heart, soul, and mind) belonged to Jesus, together with the second person of the ‘trinity’ (understood within the oneness of Israel’s God): one ‘self’ with two natures. They would agree with you that God didn’t become an object in creation, but they believe that the person of Jesus wasn’t just a puppet; rather, that he was part of the unity of God’s self, who in his humanity had humbled himself to experience human limitations (but not sinfulness).

    That said, I think that the essence of what you’re talking about does apply deeply, in a different setting, to the ways in which Christians define the person of Jesus and the nature of God. I also believe that however Christians will explain these things, the thing that they are asking Jews to do is the same, and remains indefensible. It’s one thing to show how the Christian belief can almost be harmonised with the Jewish covenant, but it’s another thing to give a reason why it can (and therefore must) be accepted.

    What you wrote when you said “the qualities of God are inseparable”, and for the three paragraphs after that, was incredibly valuable for me to read. Thank you so much… I need to think a lot more about this.

    • Annelise says:

      I know that the distinctions between human, created, ‘the form of creation’…. etc…. are pretty convoluted and tangled from a simple biblical Jewish perspective. Even though to a Christian mind they are quite lucid, solid, and readily placed amidst the ‘Old Testament’.

      But what you’re writing about is very important because of what it means for us to be human, created, and part of nature, in relationship with Hashem.

      • Annelise says:

        I also really love that quote from ‘The Elephant and the Suit’. Thank God that we can know every person and every thing in history has been created by God and that together we owe all we are to Him. That’s something really important to hold onto, even amidst a time of confusion about whether God made Himself incarnate and wants worship in that form. The knowledge that He’s already placed in our hands so much understanding of how to surrender to Him alone in righteousness, and like you said, we should keep working with that… keep holding on to His mercy and the closeness of His blessing, His wisdom, in every facet of the heavens and earth. It’s breathtaking to see how He is with us, and who He is as all of nature must turn to look to Him in worship as the one who owns us, who pours His invitation of love out freely toward us.

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  4. CP says:

    R’B,
    Thank you for your thought provoking post. Hope you won’t mind me adding my two cents.

    To be sure if God looked the other way for just a second this creation would instantly crumble to dust, except not even the dust would contuine to exist and anything of spirit would be left as an undeveloped fetus outside the womb with its umbilical cord attached to nothing.

    The question seems to be; Can God interact with His creation from within as He does from the outside? We know by definition; God is sovereign, omnipresent, limitless and all powerful, but is there something in His nature or His created order of things which would prohibit Him from acting from within His creation? This indeed becomes the question of questions.

    Torah records for us many incidents where God in fact did work from within His creation through agents and things created, namely angels, clouds and light. If was impossible for God to act from within His creation, the word Emanuel word would be an oxymoron. Was the glory that filled the Holy of Holies a creation? Or the backside of GOD as He passed by Moses? Or the Spirit of God that came on or indwelt the prophets?

    But now the question of questions focuses sharply on one point, on one incident, on one man; Yeshua. Orthodox Christian doctrine accepts the human Yeshua was indeed created by God, (miraculous conception or not), he was born as any other child and grew to be a man. But now the question of questions focuses even more sharply; Who occupied this human body of the one called Yeshua? Was it the created spirit of a man? Was it the Spirit of God? Or was it both? Or as Christians might add; Was it the second person of the Trinty?

    Modern day Orthodox Christian doctrine claiming a miraculous conception, decree it was the second person of the Trinity from time of conception. However the earliest talmudim of Yeshua held a view which was quickly decreed as heresy by the new gentile Christians. The view is called “Adoptionism”. They believed Yeshua was a man adopted by God when at his baptism by John, the Spirit of God descended on him as a dove and a voice from heaven said; “This is my son, this day I have begotten you”. In other words the man Yeshua was indwelt by the Spirit of God.

    If we are going to judge if God acted from within His own creation in Yeshua, let us judge Yeshua by his words and actions rather than what others, (Christians & Jews) say about him. Yeshua never said he was God, however he did say his words and actions were from God. If Yeshua never violated Torah, never taught others to violate Torah, but in fact called all to repent and turn back to Torah and to the God of Israel and performed signs and miracles in God’s name; it becomes clear; we have an agent of God in our midst or at the very least a great prophet, healer and teacher.

    Yeshua never claimed worship only rightfully belonging to God. This indeed would violate Torah and disqualify him as even a teacher let alone a messiah. However it cannot be denied, Torah teaches there is proper respect and honor to be given to teachers, prophets, kings and messiahs. If God has chosen to exalt a man to Messiah, who are we to deny that one the honor due to him. It would be an affront to the authority of God.

    No doubt, Christians ignorant of anything not spoon fed to them by their priests, pastors and teachers, have some strange ideas. Nonetheless God knows their hearts and will continue to guide them to the truth IF they are willing. For many of them having a heart after God, are through no fault of their own, misinformed since birth. They may believe Jesus saved them, not realizing it was God who saved them through His agent Yeshua by calling them to repentance. If you try to inform them of this you’ll get a teaching on the trinity ending in “it’s a mystery”. We should all take solace in God’s compassionate patience knowing we are but (ignorant) dust.

    • Yedidiah says:

      Jesus was not the only first “begotten son of God” so nothing special can be claimed about him. We don’t know who wrote the NT canonical gospels or when, plus there has been much editing of the texts since the middle of the 2nd century c.e. when the texts were first mentioned by name by early church fathers. “Adoption” of Jesus was a claim made by a few believers in the late 2nd century, but it was considered as error or as heresy.

      “Adoption” after death would make Jesus a minor god in a polytheistic belief system as practiced in pagan cultures and would make God a liar (among the lies would be when God said He was not a man & another, when He said that there was no one, no god beside him.). Jesus, if viewed as an adopted son on earth, would only have been a temporary agent or messenger or prophet on earth. Becoming a divine being equal to God in heaven would require speculation that could not be supported by the Jewish bible and would lead believers to accept the heretical belief of polytheists (God is not one). And a Jesus in heaven would serve no purpose other than that which was already existing in heaven (e.g., angels, ha Satan, etc).

      Also, if a divine being is manifested in a object or an human being, God would be promoting idolatry and He would be imitating the gods of the nations.

      • CP says:

        Yedihiah,

        That was a lot of words just to side step the fact the first Tamudim of Yeshua believed in a form of adoption which is NOT contrary to Torah.

        • Yedidiah says:

          Where is your evidence that there were or are writings that support your claim? The only writings that I know of (canonical or non-canonical) contain much which Torah teaching (and writings which also can contradict each other).

          • Yedidiah says:

            my post above should have read “…much which contradict Torah…”

          • CP says:

            If time permitted, I’d post them for you, but I’m getting ready to go to town. If you google Ebionites or Nazarenes you’ll be able to find some of their texts preserved by being imbedded in early Christian texts attacking them. Perhaps this evening I can get to if you come up empty handed.

          • Yedidiah says:

            I am wondering why the term “adoption” is used and how that is different from the term “anointing” which was used for kings and “messiahs”? Why would we take the word of the students of Jesus as worthy of consideration when they would have been biased and the written record was edited, corrupted & non trustworthy, lost, or non-existent? Why use the present tense when you write “… we have an agent in our midst…” when the one being talked about was a temporary agent or teacher who died almost 1900 years ago?

          • Yedidiah says:

            I first heard about Ebionites, Nazarenes, & other early Christian sects in 1996 or a little later when I first became interested in discovering the “historical Jesus”. I thought I finally found the “real Jesus”, but I soon became disappointed because they had nothing to offer other than legend or hearsay or heresy. There is no clear link between them & Jesus or his disciples. At the time, they didn’t convince other Christians or Jews that they had “true teachings” of or about Jesus, so they have even much less to offer me in the way of evidence or even value.

        • CP says:

          Yedihiah,

          From reading your post, I think you might find this guy very interesting:

          https://jamestabor.com

          • Yedidiah says:

            I haven’t read anything about Tabor in a long time, so I found his recent posts on the blog interesting. I lightly dismissed some of his writings because of reviews of his book “The Jesus Dynasty” about 10 years ago. Such as one by Robert M. Price; “Tabor’s case is a chain of weak links soldered together by supposition, possibility, and “what ifs.” Tabor often simply asserts, “I believe that…” That is a matter of hunches, not evidence. I will simply leave aside the archaeological side of his case, since I find it weakens his case rather than strengthening it.”

            Or, comments by Richard Fox, Professor of History at the University of Southern California: “Ultimately Tabor leaves the reader confused about whether he thinks the Jesus dynasty is a historical fact or merely an intriguing conjecture” and that “Tabor seems stuck in an endless loop, …holding out for some imagined “real” contact with the historical Jesus”.

            I could agree with the statement in Tabor’s article on his blog that the quest for the historical Jesus seems hopelessly halted between two opinions (or actually more, including Tabor’s) since one must go “through the medium of a complex of layered texts, all of which are to a large degree theological, tendentious, apologetic, and propagandistic. Despite prodigious effort and a plethora of sophisticated historical-critical studies published in the past ten years, it seems that by and large we end up with the “Jesus” of our individual methodological presuppositions”. If the NT writings were not so confusing and self-contradictory, there wouldn’t be such differing opinions about Jesus or about the NT between scholars nor such great divisions between churches (between Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, the Coptic church, etc. and between the 1000’s of denominations in Protestantism).

            I can also agree with Tabor who writes that he has “no doubt that various theological interpretations of Jesus were retrospectively projected back on him in our New Testament gospels.” There also is no good evidence that the Pauline letters were written early in the mid-1st century c.e., nor no good reason to assume that the gospels were written “post-Pauline”, although there is quite a bit of “Pauline” philosophy in some of the gospels (which could be part of that “retrospectively projected back” onto Jesus). Many modern scholars believe only 7 of Paul’s letters are “authentic” or written by Paul (or by a single anonymous author). Much of the letters deal with situations or of an established church and doctrine. Augustine of Hippo claimed that most of the NT letters were written by later church fathers trying to establish their faction’s beliefs as the official Christian teachings & doctrine in opposition to factions (who they might consider as non-orthodox or even heretical). For instance, Marcion was one of the few in the mid-late 2nd century c.e. that even knew of Paul & he rejected the claim (by the “Judaizers”) that Jesus was a Jew & he also rejected the Jewish bible. One good source of info about differing beliefs in the early church is “Heretics for Armchair Theologians” by Justo L. & Catherine Gonzalez. Another one of many scholarly works is “The Changing Faces of Jesus” by Geza Vermes.

          • Yedidiah, you said
            “Marcion was one of the few in the mid-late 2nd century c.e. that even knew of Paul & he rejected the claim (by the “Judaizers”) that Jesus was a Jew & he also rejected the Jewish bible.”

            You should see
            http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/recommendedreading/56-marcionism.html

          • Yedidiah says:

            Thanks for proving most of my points, even though this is a website biased against Paul that ignores some of the other early church fathers and their writings and assumes a “Jerusalem church”, even after the destruction of the temple around 70 c.e. & the Roman emperor”s control after that (which at one time included an attempt to kill all of the rebellious “descendants of David). In one case it seems to say the 12 apostles were active in Rome in 144 c.e., over 100 years after Jesus supposedly died (and some early church fathers didn’t know when Jesus lived and believed that James was still alive fairly recently in the Bar Kochba revolt -which ended about 137 c.e.). The website seems to emphasize what is happening in church in the 3rd – 4th century. It gives a relatively benign view (although only a brief mention) of Tertulian and seems to ignore what was going on in Syria and in Alexandria Egypt. I just glanced over the website page, but it appears to ignore Gnostic Christians and other “heretical” movements.

          • Yedidiah, you said
            “If the NT writings were not so confusing and self-contradictory, there wouldn’t be such differing opinions about Jesus or about the NT between scholars nor such great divisions between churches (between Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, the Coptic church, etc. and between the 1000’s of denominations in Protestantism). ”

            Yes, I agree – because we should not view the NT as “one book” which is all “God’s word” and replaced the “Old Testament”. That was Marcion’s heretical view, and Marcion is the one who coined the term “New Testament”. But the worst heresy is, Marcion’s “new book” contained nothing except 10 of Paul’s letters and an abbreviated Gospel of Luke- that was the original “New Testament”. What we have today was not put together into one book and called the NT until the 4th century. The original NT could really be called the cult of Paul.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Marcion was not the only early church father in the 2nd century & he was not the only one who compiled a list of writings about Jesus. Some of his opponents said he forged writings in their name & so they wrote & forged his name as the author of their writings. So what is accepted as orthodox could be Marcion’s orthodox & vice versa. So why did the “real Jesus followers” allow Marcion’s heresy & why did they allow the Marcionite church to be the dominant church over 100 years? And where are original writing’s of those “real Jesus followers” according to your re-write of church history?

          • Yedidiah,
            The famous Church Father Tertullian called Paul “the apostle to the heretics” and blasted Marcion for accepting Paul’s false theology and false claim of apostleship with no other witnesses. There was a system of Marcionite churches, based in Rome, which flourished alongside the churches of the True Apostles, for almost 200 years. Then Emperor Constantine came along and combined the two competing collections of texts into his version of “the New Testament” and slapped on the Hebrew “Old Testament” to form “The Bible”.. It’s syncretism, and it’s very common today too, like with the Pope and many others pushing “Chrislam”, claiming they can combine the text of “The Bible” with “The Koran”

            The Eastern Orthodox view of Scripture even today puts the 4 Gospels above everything else. And in terms of Apostolic authority the order should clearly be Matthew & John first, followed closely by Mark, with Luke last, providing useful supporting background.

            No one in the pages of the Bible, either “Old Testament” or New, said that all Scripture is equal.

          • Yedidiah says:

            The famous church father Marcion would probably blast the younger Tertulian as well. And why would Tertulian criticize Paul who seemed to be accepted by the disciples of Jesus & as many people believe (without evidence) that Paul wrote the first writings about Jesus? Marcion didn’t start out rejecting the Hebrew bible until he read it and he could not reconcile it with the Jesus that he was taught, which is a similar reaction to the “OT” that many modern Christians and humanists have to it. Many Christians only seem to accept the “OT” because of the “10 commandments’, the creation stories, and a few other select stories or psalms or verses, except for the fact that they were taught to accept the entire Catholic or Protestant bible as one book. Or, because they were told that there are “prophesies” & “foreshadowing” of Jesus in the “OT”. Many Christians & even many Jews may wish that Marcionite Christianity was the One Christianity that succeeded & survived to today.

            Tertulian wasn’t a Hellenistic gnostic, but he was greatly influenced by the stoics and by the neo-Platonistic concept of the Logos (as was Philo). Tertulian or a relative of his was accused of writing the gospel of John, especially because of the first few sentences of the gospel. It appears strange that the Eastern Orthodox Church would put Matthew & John 1st, since they are at “opposite ends of the spectrum”. I guess you do not accept the concept of the synoptic gospels or the the hypothesis that Mark was written first and then Matthew & later Luke, both copied much of Mark but then added to it? And you probably disagree with most scholars (excluding those from the E. Orthodox), that John was written much later than the Synoptic gospels & that John disagrees a lot with each of the other 3 gospels?

          • Dear CP
            I see on this site that James Tabor wrote a book entitled “Paul and Jesus: How The Apostle transformed Christianity.”

            This title is fundamentally flawed. Paul was never appointed an Apostle. He was never recognized individually as an apostle by anyone – not even Luke in Acts 14. No one gave Paul the title “The Apostle to the Gentiles” – Paul boastfully promoted himself with this lofty title. There are only 12 Apostles, the 12th is Matthias [Acts 1]

            “What is an Apostle?”
            Here is the answer based on the original sources:
            The words and actions of Jesus and the Original Apostles in the text of the New Testament.

            .1) Gospel of Mark – time lag between being appointed and being sent
            “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him…” [Mark 3:13-14]

            Three chapters later,
            “Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.” [Mark 6:6-7]

            .2) Gospel of Luke – time lag between being appointed and being sent
            “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon…..” [Luke 6:12-14]

            Again three chapters later,
            “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” [Luke 9:1-2]

            .3) Gospel of Matthew – which is organized by theme, not necessarily in chronological order.
            “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon…” [Matthew 10:1]

            Without any clear time reference, continuing on the theme of the Apostles, Matthew does record “These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions…” [Matthew 10:5] Matthew never said that the Apostles were “sent out” immediately after being appointed. If we didn’t also have the clear records in Mark and Luke, it would be a fairly logical assumption that Jesus sent them out right away, but it would still be just an assumption. In this case, that assumption would clearly be wrong. The Twelve Apostles were absolutely NOT sent out right away after being appointed Apostles, according to Mark chapters 3 through 6, and Luke chapters 6 through 9.

            So being an Apostle of Jesus involves being sent by Jesus, yes. But that isn’t the only meaning, or even the first and primary meaning. The first thing was “that they might be with Him” personally, together, for His entire earthly ministry, from the time of John the Baptist until Jesus rose to heaven. Jesus poured his life into the 12 Apostles for 3 ½ years very personally training them to be the leaders of the church, and Jesus chose Peter as first among equals.

            The NIV translation inserts the heading “Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas” for the passage Luke wrote in Acts 1:12-26]. The NIV headings were not part of the original text, and sometimes they can be misleading, but in this case I believe the heading is right on.

            Jesus and the Original Apostles knew what an Apostle is better than anyone else in the world. Why is this a strange idea? Why do so many people frequently attack and tear down and dismiss the Original Apostles, particularly Peter, as if they were all incompetent, stupid, and wrong in so many ways, and they didn’t even know what an “Apostle” was? The answer to that question is, they have been listening to the voice of Paul, rather than the voices of Jesus and the Original Apostles.

            As we consider the question “what is an Apostle”, we should carefully listen to the words of the leader that Jesus personally appointed as first among the Apostles, and trained personally for 3 ½ years, Peter.

            “It is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” [Acts 1:21-22]

            Neither Paul, nor James, nor Luke were with Jesus and the Apostles the whole time, so they were not qualified to be a “witness with the Apostles of Jesus’ resurrection”, which is what it means to be an Apostle. Matthias was qualified, appointed, and later recognized as part of The Twelve. No one except Judas ever lost his apostleship.

            Responding to a question from Peter,
            “Jesus said to them:
            …you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Matthew 19:28]

            We cannot prove that Judas was present at that time, and we cannot prove that Matthias was absent at that time when Jesus spoke those words. Even if Judas was physically present, as we all realize now, he was not a true follower of Jesus. And even if Matthias was physically absent at that particular occasion, Jesus is still establishing the basic qualification for having one of the twelve thrones as being “you who have followed me,” not someone who will follow Jesus in the future, like Paul, James, Luke or anyone else in the world.

            At the Last Supper, Jesus said to His Apostles:
            “You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred on one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Luke 22:28-30]

            Was Judas present when Jesus spoke those words? Even if someone wants to be argumentative and say we can’t prove that Judas wasn’t there at the time, we certainly can’t prove that Judas WAS there. Judas obviously didn’t stand by Jesus in his trial, as the whole world knows. But that was the requirement Jesus gave to “sit on thrones:” “You are those who have stood by me in my trials.” “You”, speaking to His 11 Apostles who had been walking with Him faithfully for 3 ½ years. Not others in the future who will follow the risen Jesus Christ. Notice that at the Last Supper, when Judas lost his throne and Matthias was definitely absent, Jesus chose to speak of “thrones” rather than “twelve thrones” as he had previously.

            The Apostle John recorded about the New Jerusalem,
            “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” [Revelation 21:14]

            The Apostles are 12 faithful eyewitnesses who walked with Jesus during His entire earthly ministry, and Matthias is the 12th. That’s the short version of my definition of “what is an Apostle.”

          • CP says:

            Matthew Perri,

            I couldn’t agree with you more on your Apostle definition!
            However as a side note: Tabor speculates “the disciple Jesus loved” is actually James his younger brother.

          • Yedidiah says:

            I read it that James is most likely the beloved disciple also. But, most scholars or Christians speculate it was John. And many, who believe Jesus had actual brothers and sisters, believe they were older children of Joseph from a previous marriage, because of what they want to believe about Mary.

          • Yedidiah,
            I very much DO “accept …………… the hypothesis that Mark was written first and then Matthew & later Luke, both copied much of Mark but then added to it?”

            That makes perfect sense. Mark quickly put down the teachings of Peter and other Apostles, the main points, the big picture, with lots of action. He didn’t bother with the footnotes about the genealogies, narratives of Jesus’ birth and childhood, or Old Testament foundation and quotes, or some details like it was the MOTHER of James and John who was really behind their request for power in the kingdom.

            Then Matthew built on this foundation, and filled out more details with backup. Likewise, Luke went and interviewed Mary for his first 3 chapters, and the disciples from the Road to Emmaus or the end of his Gospel.

            For those who want to blast me for daring to criticize Luke’s record of Jesus words…… whose version of Jesus’ temptation by Satan do you believe? Matthew’s or Luke’s?
            In Luke’s chapter 4 account, in the first temptation, words from the Law spoken by Jesus are missing, and the 2nd and 3rd temptations are in the opposite order…….

          • Yedidiah says:

            Do you see several references in John although he doesn’t relate a specific temptation story? One of my main question is exactly what the devil or Satan trying to achieve by these temptations? Or you prefer the term test over temptation after Jesus’ “adoption”? Was it about particular types of sin (avarice, gluttony, etc)? Or, was it as was it as some have suggested, a way of presenting him with the different options he could take to be a Messiah? And which gospel writes of Jesus as gaining power over all the kingdoms of the world shortly after the test or temptation?

          • Yedidiah says:

            I wish there was a way to edit the text after it has been sent (I am referring to my editing & my text, although many have found ways to edit the NT after it was sent & to ways to select & corrupt the Tanakh to fit the needs of Matthew, et.al). English is my 1st language; I am often in a rush & type on the run, so add in a few simple words like “is”, “do”, etc in places to make better sense of my last post.

      • ” Becoming a divine being equal to God in heaven would require speculation that could not be supported by the Jewish bible and would lead believers to accept the heretical belief of polytheists (God is not one)”

        I agree. In what basis and where in the Renewed covenant (New Testament) say that Yeshua became divine being equal to God in heaven??

        • Yedidiah says:

          You need you ask that of Trinitarian, unitarian, or “messianic” Christians. Of course, if you don’t accept what the vast majority of Jesus/Yeshua believers believe, that won’t prove that there was a “renewed covenant” or any Jesus that was not divine.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Until Jesus-Yeshua can clean up their mess and agree on basic principles, it might be best for people not to accept any new or renewed covenant/testaments.

          • Yedidiah, many Jews witnessed and recorded in the New Testamenst that Yeshua ascended into heaven after resurrection. And there is not even one place where it says, “he sitted on the throne of God.” Always says, “he sitted on the RIGHT HAND of God.” In other words, He became not equal to God by taking God’s throne, rather he still works as our mediator, the High priest between God and His covenant people. This is what the New Testament teaches.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Many, many more Jews rejected Jesus. According to the NT, there is not just one throne, but one one Jesus. One for each of the 12 disciples, and even Satan sits on a throne. One can even with with Jesus on his throne, just as Jesus sat down with his father on his father’s throne.

            Rev 3:21. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

          • Revelation 3:21 didnt say “i will give the right to sit my throne, just as i sat down on my Father’s throne”

          • Yedidiah says:

            According to the NT, there is not just one throne, but one for Jesus, one for each of the 12 disciples, and even Satan sits on a throne. One can even sit down with Jesus on his throne, just as Jesus sat down with his father on his father’s throne.

            Rev 3:21. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

        • Yedidiah says:

          Until Jesus-Yeshua believers can clean up their NT mess and agree on basic principles, it might be best for people not to accept any new or renewed covenant/testaments.

          • You are right. It is good that you doubt of what believers or traditions or denominational doctrines say to you, but it is best that you hear of the good news recorded both in the old and new testaments. in fact, I am being cleaned up by my Jewish brothers and sisters here and by Yeshua believers.

          • Yedidiah, I also agree with you-
            So Gean Guk Jeon, why don’t we put this into practice right here right now and “agree on basic principles”?

            Jesus was asked twice which Commandment is the greatest or most important one, (Matthew 22 and Mark 12)
            Both times Jesus answered quoting the same two commandments, from the Law of Moses.

            Jesus said that one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

  5. Dear Pharisee Friend
    you wrote QUOTE: ” ….the Christian claim for the incarnation of Jesus is actually an attempt to redefine the very basis of worship.”

    I approach Yahweh my Father the God of Israel in worship on the basis of my relationship with His Son Yeshua, since He offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice, and also permanent High Priest forever.

    Having just read the entire Torah, I see it is full of detailed instructions about the basis for approaching Yahweh in worship without being struck dead ( As Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu were….) All sorts of animal sacrifices, blood, fat, flour, oil, drink offerings, a very specific kind of incense, burnt offerings, specific garments for only certain men in one particular family, one man appointed as High Priest, and he can only approach God in worship one day a year, in a certain place…. The Tabernacle, furnishing, etc. etc.
    But you are not doing any of that now.

    What is your “basis for worship” and approaching Yahweh without being struck dead like Nadab and Abiju?

    • Yedidiah says:

      Matt; in your 1st response to CP (and to me), it seems the NT is corrupted, but then you take it, or parts of it, as literal history to prove “Jesus-only”. The NT is not Jesus-only, nor are all 4 gospels and Acts, unless you can show, from other sources, that the texts you favor are from faithful copies of undisputed originals.

      • Yedidiah,
        The Apostle Peter in his second letter [2 Peter 3:2] indicates what should be “top priority.” Again, the fundamental problem is looking at “the New Testament” as “one book” that is all somehow equal. But there is nothing it’s pages that really tells us to look at it that way.

        Many self-professed “Bible-believing Evangelicals” won’t listen to the words of Jesus, because they are brainwashed through reciting their “mantra” – “all scripture is God-breathed.”

        This “Evangelical Mantra” has been accepted by the collective subconscious mind of “The Evangelical Church” without thought, question, reflection, or even 2 witnesses from the Scripture itself. It’s based on a misinterpretation, out of context, of one verse in one letter written by one man, Paul the Pharisee, who was unfamiliar with the personal ministry and teaching of Jesus.

        But, “Once an idea has been accepted by your subconscious, it remains there and it governs your behavior until it is replaced or changed.” [ as a pastor named Bishop Dale C. Bronner observed in one of his sermons]

        (Definition from the American Heritage Dictionary.) Mantra (noun) (Hinduism.) A sacred formula believed to embody the divinity invoked and to possess magical power, used in prayer and incantation.

        When cult members repeat their mantra, it makes them deaf to the voice of God, unable to hear God. Instead, it puts their focus on their one “special man” above all others – his personality, words and teachings, character, life example, feelings, experience, intentions, mind, will, emotions, etc. Their cult leader is their hero – he is always right, could never be wrong about anything specific, and he must be obeyed in all things and never questioned. He will give himself a special title, write at least one special book, and claim special authority, with no need for a second witness to back him up.
        Here are 3 examples.

        .1) Fuhrer. The title of Adolf Hitler as the leader of the German Nazis, author of “Mein Kamph”. Mantra: “Heil Hitler.”

        .2) The self-appointed Prophet Muhammad, author of The Koran. Mantra: …..”and Muhammad is his prophet.”

        .3) Paul the Pharisee, the self-appointed Apostle to the Gentiles, whose 13 letters comprise one third of what, today, we call the “New Testament.” (The first, original “New Testament” was composed by the second century heretic Marcion, and he coined the term “New Testament.” His new “book” contained nothing except 10 of Paul’s letters and an abbreviated Gospel of Luke. There were no other “New Testament” books, and the Hebrew Scriptures were the “Old Testament” which was irrelevant, according to the heretic Marcion.) Mantra: “All Scripture is God-breathed….”

        I got my Masters Degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. I was attracted to the school because they put Paul’s mantra of “All Scripture is God-breathed” above everything else, and I wanted to heed Paul’s command and “Preach the Word” like Paul….

        This mantra is a misinterpretation out of context of 2 Timothy 3:16. It ignores the previous verse, 2 Timothy 3:15, which clearly indicates that Paul was NOT referring to his own letters when he wrote the words “All Scripture.”

        Paul was probably making reference to some of the Hebrew Scriptures, quite likely including the Law and the Prophets. We cannot be completely certain exactly which “Scriptures” Paul meant in “All Scripture”, and what Paul meant by “God-breathed.” Why can’t we be certain?

        Because we must establish a matter by the testimony of two or three witnesses, especially something as important as “What is the Word of God.” No one else in the pages of the Bible besides Paul ever said anything like “All Scripture is God-breathed”. And Paul only said it here, one time, in the middle of a personal letter.

        The Apostle Peter made reference to “Prophecy of Scripture,” not “All Scripture,” and no it’s not the same thing at all. Jesus never said anything like that. And no one, not even Paul, ever said that all Scripture was equal.

        I remember the general approach to the Bible at Dallas being that “every word in the 66 Books is the Word of God”….. and we should interpret it based on “the intended meaning of the author in the historical grammatical context.”

        That is the basic idea of the heavy-duty seminary language we were being trained in. It sounds so right, so intelligent, so professional, so “godly”….. but it is fundamentally flawed.

        When we look at Paul’s teachings and testimony about himself, (in his letters that make up 1/3 of the New Testament,) we should NOT immediately ask ourselves; “what did Paul say, what did Paul mean, and how does this apply to my life?” The fundamental question is NOT “what was in the mind of Paul?”

        Before any of that, the FIRST question to ask is; “does Paul agree with Jesus, who came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets?”

        Paul contradicted himself, and his teachings and testimony about himself don’t harmonize with the teachings of Jesus (or with Luke’s record of his life.) Let’s not waste our time with endless debates about “what Paul really meant” with his wacky teachings about “baptizing the dead” or “there is neither male nor female.” Paul was wrong. Jesus reminds us from The Law “at the beginning, the Creator made them male and female.” [Matthew 19:4, Genesis 1:27]

        As to the question of “whether the Bible is ALL truly Gods WORDS”…

        The underlying unspoken assumption is that “The Bible” (66 Books) was given to us by God as “one book” and it’s all “equal” in level of authority, priority, and importance. This comes from unconsciously believing Paul’s mantra, the “Evangelical Mantra”, that “All Scripture is God-breathed”, and falsely assuming Paul was referring to every word in the 66 Books of the Bible. Yet even here, not even Paul, not even once, ever said that “All Scripture is EQUAL” in authority, priority, and importance.

        No one in the pages of the Bible ever said or wrote that “all Scripture,” or “the Bible,” is “all truly God’s words”. Jesus never said anything like that, and Jesus did not see it that way. Jesus did not see even the Hebrew Scriptures, what we call the “Old Testament”, as a whole unit or book that was all equal or “all truly God’s words.” Jesus spoke of The Law, or The Law and the Prophets, holding these 2 sections of the Old Testament above the third, least important sections the “Writings.” And Jesus held the Psalms, the first book of the “Writings” section, above the other books in the “Writings” section in importance, since some parts of some Psalms are prophetic.

        Obviously, the New Testament Scriptures were not written when Jesus was walking the earth. But if we want to get closest to The Source, Jesus himself, it makes sense that we should look first to the eyewitness testimony of two of His appointed Apostles who walked with Him faithfully for over 3 years, Matthew & John. (Also to other eyewitness testimony, recorded by Mark and Luke.) This is more accurate, important, and authoritative than personal letters written by Paul the Pharisee, who never knew Jesus personally, had no part in His ministry, and had no eyewitness testimony.

        We should follow the Jesus of the Gospel writers. We should not follow the “jesus” of Paul the Pharisee or Muhammad or any other man, who had their own ideas of who “jesus” was and what He did.

        • CP says:

          @Matt,
          Amen Amen!

        • Dina says:

          Matthew Perri,

          You wrote “Because we must establish a matter by the testimony of two or three witnesses, etc.” What is your source for this statement? Please cite it in context and show us exactly what kind of matters need to be established by witnesses.

          • Dina, It’s better if ALL matters are established by the testimony of two or three witnesses – all important matters anyway. We both already know the specific verses I would be likely to quote, and why it is difficult to get a useful application from them. So we need to also look to the character of God, and the experience and practice of His Chosen People through the millennia, such as doing business in the city gate….
            – we could begin with Genesis 1:26
            “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in OUR image….”

          • Dina says:

            Just making sure you know that your insistence that everything be settled by two or three witnesses is your own made-up dogma :).

          • I’m not “insisting” I’m saying two or three are better than one, usually, especially in important things. Throughout the Torah, God frequently confirmed things twice or more- right?

          • Dina says:

            What do you do if fifty people claim they witnessed the resurrection of Hare Krishna?

          • Dina says:

            Just askin’.

          • CP says:

            Dina,
            I agree with you.
            However, Deut 19:15 is where they get it. (It’s not a bad principle to apply to a multitude of things, but it has been taken out of context)

            “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.”

        • Concerned Reader says:

          Mathew Perri, the only issue I have with anything that you said, is that by asking us to trust just the “gospels’ words of Jesus estabished by 2 or 3 witnesses,” you are going against your stated goal.

          Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John were written by unknown authors after Paul wrote his epistles, and after Paul was already dead.

          Paul’s epistles are the earliest pieces of Christian literature that exist, IE his letters are the only 1st generation Christian witness that we can reliably date to about 30 years after Jesus had left the planet.

          The synoptics were written 40, 50, and as high as 90 years after Jesus, those texts are post Pauline takeover.

          As you alluded to, the 1st New Testament was compiled by Marcion. We know also that the gospels themselves have undergone centuries of Pro Pauline redaction.

          In other words, based on your criteria, nobody should pay any heed to any of the material we know about Jesus, because all of it comes through the pens and lens of Pauline edited texts.

          • Dear Concerned Reader
            I’m saying the primary witnesses are the eyewitness Apostles Matthew & John, followed closely by Mark, who wrote on behalf of illiterate Apostles like Peter, since he knew them very well personally and was present at the beginning of the Church.

            A recent revelation that grieves me greatly is that yes, indeed, Luke’s version of the words, teachings, and parables of Jesus is slanted toward Paul’s false teaching, either directly, or through “centuries of Pro Pauline redaction” as you said. I think I recall that Marcion left off the first 3 chapters of Luke, and the rest of Luke he edited on a theological basis. It occurs to me now that what we have today, from chapter 4 on of the Gospel of Luke could just be Marcion’s redaction.

            In any event, the Apostles like Matthew and John were present when Jesus was teaching, so where Luke says something different, we should ignore Luke. Luke never claimed his own words were the “word of God” or equal to the testimony of the eyewitnesses, the true Apostles.

  6. Dina says:

    Following.

  7. Concerned Reader says:

    Mathew Perri, you are missing my point. You only know about John, Luke or the apostles because of the gospels of Mathew, Mark, and Luke. The gospels of Mathew, Mark, and Luke, are anonymous compositions written by UNKNOWN authors after Paul died. They are not 1st generation eye witness testimony.

    • CP says:

      Concerned Reader,
      Yeah, that really stinks.

      If I had a time machine; would I go ahead in time to find out what stocks to buy? Or go back in time to see how the pyramids were built, or look at dinosaurs?
      Nope.
      I’d go back in time with a baseball bat and convince people TO LEAVE THE TEXT ALONE!!! 😡
      😎

    • Yedidiah says:

      BTW, many people believe that Matthew is the most Jewish gospel & supposedly written for Jews, but (I don’t know the source) someone said that the most Jewish of the gospels was Luke’s (although some believe he was the only non-Jewish NT author).

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Do you guys know what the most Jewish of Jewish books is? The Jewish Bible. The cool thing is, we don’t even have to play charades to try and figure out what it is trying to say.

        Also, all the teachings of Jesus that people truly like and respect, like turning the other cheek, showing mercy, loving the stranger, prioritizing life and wellness over “legalism,” are all attested in the Jewish tradition. : )

        • Dina says:

          Well said, Connie!

        • CP says:

          The most Jewish book in the NT would be James, the very reason it was ‘almost’ rejected from canonization by the early church fathers. Many say the historical Jesus/Yeshua is lost. I disagree, read the Gospels, subtract everything that is not Jewish and what you have left is the real Yeshua.

          • Yedidiah says:

            What to subtract or not is very subjective, which is why there are so many very different versions of Jesus and why there so many different versions of “Yeshua”. People who have tryed to subtract the “Jewish” out of the NT or out of “pagan Jesus” or “Paul’s Jesus” have come up with over a dozen different names of Jesus or Yeshua (e.g., Yahwehshua, Yhwhshua, Yeshua, Yehoshua, etc.). That is part of the “charade”. And which definition or version of “Jewish” do they mean, since “Jewish” is not one thing? If you subtract just a little too much, you have only 1 more “teacher” or “prophet” or “messiah” among hundreds. Cafeteria style Jesus or Yeshua. Just another itinerant “preacher”, a heretical leader of a small cult (much smaller & less organized than the Qumran sect), or just a legend & a myth. Sadducees were Jewish, Hellenistic Jews were Jewish, Jews who betrayed Jews by collaborating with the Romans were Jewish, Paul who the NT claimed Jewish was supposedly Jewish, etc.

          • Yedidiah,
            2 Peter 3:2 is not really subjective at all, if you understand it.

          • Yedidiah,
            Your comment beginning QUOTE: “What to subtract or not is very subjective…”
            is sort of beginning by “begging the question”.
            “Subtract” implies that something, the “New Testament” is a “whole.” This is the very notion that I am rejecting. The very term, and concept behind the term, originated in the mind of the Second Century heretic Marcion, as I laid out here.

          • Yedidiah says:

            I was responding to CP’s premise or claim that we need to subtract from the individual books or the entire canon that we have today. So that is not “begging the question”, but rather, stating the most likely outcomes from another’s premise & then one can conclude what they want from the analysis. The Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox churches, Protestant churches, etc have a canon, a “whole”, which you may have accepted once as a whole yourself. Since a subtraction, at any time in history, is/was unlikely to be objective, the conclusions (of what the original texts were & who the authors of those texts were) will be subjective. Several individuals or groups have done that subtraction and I cited some of the “sacred names” that they have given to Jesus in their “Renewed Covenant” bible or “Hebrew Roots” version, “Brit Chadasha”, etc. I know of 1 messianic teacher in Israel who only uses & teaches from what he claims is the “original Matthew”.

            You can start a study by going from the end point of what we have today (or a mid-point) and go backward in your decision analysis & try to reach a single start point, but so far everyone who has tried that has failed- they have come up with different versions of Jesus. Or you can start at the start point. But where is that or those start points? The problem there is that you have to use “what you got” today to go back in time to get there. One makes assumptions based on what one feels is right or true – about Peter or Paul or Marcion or the Romans or Jews or Jesus. There are few people who can put aside their suppositions, biases & prejudices. The way you argue I highly doubt that you could be objective about beginnings. It really seems that your dislike of Marcion & his making a collection of writings has prejudiced you to accepting any collection of writings. But you probably know that others (some to counter Marcion) also made collections or a list of writings & many are in the whole today. You probably have your own list subtracted out or sifted out of the whole pile of writings available 1800-1900 years ago.

          • Are you aware that for almost 2000 years, even today, if you go to an (Eastern) Orthodox Church, they have a “Book of the 4 Gospels” which is separate from everything else, and held in higher esteem. This is the ONLY book that is placed on the altar in the sanctuary, giving it the highest honor. So this is really the “original” idea, not my new idea……

            The word “canon” does not appear anywhere in the text, nor does “New Testament”, “Bible” or “inerrancy”…… No one in the pages of Scripture ever said that all scripture was equal, and Jesus clearly taught otherwise, being a Jew, who knew the difference between Torah, Nabi’im, and Kethuvim, and didn’t call them “The TaNaKh” like you do today……

          • Yedidiah says:

            I didn’t know anything about the Eastern Orthodox Church (EOC) until about 3-4 years ago when i commented on and disagreed a bit with a member of EOC who comment on this same site. I knew more about the Syriac church since it was one of the 3 main centers of early Christianity (beside Rome & Alexandria, Egypt). I know that the Roman Catholic Church & the EOC were pretty much the same church until about 1000 c.e. when there was a split. So much of their early history is the same. And that history didn’t go back quite 2000 years.

            If the 4 gospels is the same as the Diatessaron, which is supposedly a harmony of 4 gospels, yes I heard of it. I am also familiar with the Didache, Shepherd of Hermas, Barnabas, and other early Christian writings which were considered part of the canon of the early church (some of the non-canonical writings were included in the EOC canon). There were probably 10 letters of Paul that circulated & were accepted by the “orthodox” church even before Marcion. At first there was only the “oral gospels” and different communities knew & accepted different writings and there arose what can be considered as local canonicity.

            Of course, individual books don’t discuss ideas & terms such as canon or new testament or 4 gospels or orthodox or the eastern orthodox church, so by your “logic” should we reject all these terms or things??? Actually, Marcion seen a problem with all the different local gospels, apocalypses, teachings, etc. tried to bring this “chaos” under control. Now the EOC and most other modern churches see Marcion as a heretic, but he in effect forced the early church to consider their own list of writings & determine what was apostolic & what was was not.

            I don’t want to write a “wall of text”, but I feel I can show you quite a few flaws in your understanding of the early church writings and the development of the church canon, including the EOC’s canon. If i don’t already know it, i can spend the time to look it up in my library or online.

          • Yedidiah,
            You wrote about QUOTE: “…..the early church writings and the development of the church canon, including the EOC’s canon.”

            You are sort of missing the point I am bringing up. The 4 Gospels are the historical record about, and the teachings OF Jesus. The Original (the Orthodox) Church, at least in theory, still holds those above all other writings, and I agree with them on this one specific theoretical point – namely their physical placement of the 4 Gospels above everything else. In practice the EOC has many other beliefs and practices that I don’t agree with.

            Other writings are teachings ABOUT Jesus, written by people who didn’t know Jesus personally on earth – like Paul the Pharisee. I want to put the focus on Jesus and His own teachings, recorded through His Apostles as the Apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 3:2, which means Matthew and John, (closely followed by Mark.)

          • Yedidiah says:

            Most people understand that the gospels are about Jesus and that the other writings (canonical ones) are about Jesus, whether the authors supposedly were disciples of Jesus or just knew him when he was alive or just knew about him from others. Mark wasn’t a disciple/apostle, but some people claim that he was a relative of Peter & acted as a secretary who wrote down what Peter told him about Jesus, while others think he might be the Mark who preached as Paul preached and who knew Paul and even companioned with him. Some claim he just knew about Jesus 2nd or 3rd hand like Luke.

            Many Christians (even non-believing atheists) know that there is a difference between gospels and letters, but they know that those writings collected together & named the NT are to be considered as more sacred than writings about Jesus and/or about his sayings, like the gospel of Peter or gospel of Thomas or gospel of Philip or gospel of Mary -mother of Jesus-, gospel of the Hebrews, etc. Similar to the way Jews consider the first 5 books of their bible or Torah (which means teachings, not laws, although laws or commandments are in the written Torah) are separated from the prophets and from the writings (which is grouped together as sacred writings & known by many as Tanakh). But the Tanakh is also Torah as is the Oral Torah.

            in the first one and a half centuries of the Church’s history, there was no single Gospel writing which was directly made known, named, or in any way given prominence by quoting it. And those gospels arose mostly from the oral gospels about Jesus and about his sayings or his actions. No one knows when they were written or even who the authors of most or all of those writings were or if they were by disciples or by apostles or by 2nd or later generation believers or by “heretics”. So how much of a historical record any of them may be is highly questionable.

            And just because some people find value in them (all or in part), does not mean that other people find much of it as historical or valuable or sacred. That is one of the reasons for this blog, 1000 verses. BTW, Paul, who was first known as Saul when he was a non-believer, was probably not a Pharisee, and he couldn’t really be a Pharisee after he became a believer in Jesus & taught about Jesus and who seemed to be approved to teach by those who knew Jesus personally. That is if you believe ‘Acts of the apostles”, which covers not only Peter & John, but mostly Paul.

            BTW, much of our commentary isn’t directed to Rabbi B., or even many of the readers, but appears as a distraction, but which is bringing up things which puts Christianity or Jesus/Yeshua in a negative light. Just so you don’t get or have the wrong impression, I am not a Jew or Jewish, and have been a Christian, to some degree no matter how slight at times, but I have studied quite seriously pre-Constantine Christianity over the last 2 decades. However, I do admit that most of the books that I have bought over that time were by Jewish authors & about Judaism (& of those, only a few have anything to do with Jesus or Christianity).

          • CP says:

            @Matthew & Yedidiah,

            It would appear we are wrestling with an age old question of the past 2000 years; namely to practice the religion OF Yeshua or a religion ABOUT Yeshua. Even if overcome the hurdle of who to believe; Paul’s Epistles vs the Gospels, we are left with Gospels heavily influenced by Pauline Doctrine.

            Perhaps it would be a beneficial exercise to look at this a different way? What if we put the NT aside for now and look at Israel from Abraham to the end of the second Temple. If we believe God is not haphazard and indeed has a plan then one should be able to follow through history from Abraham to the end of the second Temple, the key being God fore-knowing the system HE had established with Moses was to undergo a drastic change for over 2000 years.

            Could not Yeshua be equated to a type of Jonah who preached repentance to Ninveah? Was this not the message of Yeshua to Israel? The difference being Ninveah repented.

            Yeshua is called the “Passover Lamb”, but is the Passover Lamb for sin? Originally the lamb was eaten to prepare for a hard journey ahead and the blood was to be passed through (being around the door) upon leaving Egypt representing the Abrahamic blood covenant with those who left.

            God knew Israel was again about to go on a similar journey, only this time much longer, would HE not make provisions for them? We know God is Faithful.

            Then comes the Question of the lost Tribes; what plan has God for them? HE promised to bring them back. Could this perhaps account for the Pauline Forgiveness Doctrine given to those 10 Tribes previously rejected and divorced by God. Could this be the work of the Spirit of God going out into the world to be a light to those who were lost? They need to HEAR AND KNOW they been accepted back by God.

          • CP,
            The teaching OF Jesus, through the 11 Apostles He personally chose, should be our center. Only 3 of them wrote Scripture, Matthew John & Peter. (Mark appears to be largely the teachings of Peter.)
            In contrast,
            Paul’s false teachings ABOUT Jesus (and about himself, and the law, and his carnal life example….) are at the center of what today is called “Christianity.”

            Here’s kryptonite for the followers of “PAAL the Christian Superman”

            I had a telephone conversation last week with a pastor. His church believes in “keeping the commandments”, and he already knew that 2 Timothy 3:15-16 is a clear reference to the Old Testament, not the New Testament or “The Bible.” I asked him which commandment is the most important one, and he parroted the words of Jesus in Matthew 22, saying this was “The Great Commandment”.

            I pointed out that Jesus was quoting two different commandments, from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18, and I asked him which one was the most important one. He finally acknowledged it was the one in Deuteronomy.

            Then I asked him to open his Bible to Galatians 5:14, and he read it, and finally realized that Paul was quoting Leviticus here, but he still thought, somehow, “Paul was right.” I reminded him that he had just told me that the most important commandment is in Deuteronomy. And then…..
            he hung up on me.

    • Matthew and John ARE “1st generation eye witness testimony”, and Mark is very close to that. We have no good reason not to believe that. When those texts were completed in their final finished current form may be debatable – but we don’t know for sure, and it doesn’t really matter. Your claim here is baseless and unsupported

      • Yedidiah says:

        Church leaders, followers of Jesus, in the mid-2nd century wrote things & they really didn’t know who wrote Matthew (they speculated it was Mattlew because he supposedly was a tax collector) and they didn’t know who wrote John (they could not figure out who the beloved discipline was so they speculated that it was John by eliminating other possible authors, including a 2nd century church father).

        • With all due respect, so what? The opinions those anonymous people doesn’t mean anything to me. The opinion of the Apostle Peter, however, means a lot.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Actually, i dont see you giving them any due respect. They are/were less anonymous than the anonymous author of Peter’s Apocypse or gospel or letters. Some of them favored Peter over Paul or John and perhaps you would not have even known about Peter if it were not for those “anonymous” early followers of Jesus/Yeshu.

  8. edward says:

    “Also, all the teachings of Jesus that people truly like and respect, like turning the other cheek, showing mercy, loving the stranger, prioritizing life and wellness over “legalism,” are all attested in the Jewish tradition. : )”

    christians are the biggest hypocrites on the planet

    in the mind of moses, righteousness could only be obtained by obeying all of God’s instructions (deu 6:25). in the mind of moses, the only way for a hebrew to avoid SERVING OTHERS gods, is to actually SERVE the one true God. You do that by obeying him.

    what is torah stance on homosexual marriage?

    if christians know the stance of god on homosexual marriage why did they support pro-LGBT donald trump?

    the christian family model is being destroyed and christians support it being destroyed.

    jesus is also a big hypocrite

    it is my understanding that the author of Deu 6:25 thought that obeying God meant to listen to what he commanded. to demonstrate the love, one would have to carry out the punishment laws. otherwise how is it obedience?
    lets assume moses had a thought of lust
    or thought of hate

    does the thought cancel out the punishment laws? how do thoughts overrule punishment ? God knew moses was human being , but he still gave him punishment laws.

    jesus is the biggest hypocrite and his hypocrisy is being used by hypocrite christians when they supporting pro-lgbt donald trump.

    “not one part of the law should be broken” meant how jesus could spin off how he understood “broken”

    jesus and christians are the biggest hypocrites on the planet. they are helping destroy christian family model and allowing the existence of more gay clubs. they have forsaken their god and his rituals and laws.

  9. KAVI says:

    Rabbi Blumenthal writes,
    “The scenario proposed by the theology of Christianity, in which Creator takes on the form of created – and demands worship in that form – is in effect claiming that worship is not rooted in our dependence upon the Author of all existence.”
    _________________________

    I think there is often a misconception that believers of The Way “demand” we worship a created being– however, the concept does not exist in the B’rit Chadashah/NT.

    For the L-rd Yeshua is One of the co-creaters– One Being of Our complex, Echad Elohim who said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness. . .”

    Yet, to fulfill a promise, G-d went out of His way to take on flesh in order to redeem mankind according to the principals of “kinsman redeemer”.

    As to “how” G-d dwelt in that tabernacle of flesh– no one knows. And weird and speculative ideas that Yeshua was a “sock puppet” or Yeshua is “100% this” and/or “100% that”– are truly just weird and speculative [no matter whether spoken by the Orthodox or the “Christian” or the atheist or whomever].

    _________________________

    G-d was forced to take on flesh in order to fulfill His original redemptive promise– and so the Temunah of G-d descended from Right Hand of the Ancient of Days to earn the title of being “the Son of Man” as well as being the Divine Redeemer.

    G-d is very much a “limited” Being– He cannot sin.

    And to take on human flesh to fulfill the role of “kinsman redeemer” is not sinful.

    __________________________

    • CP says:

      KAVI,
      While not lending credence to who Yeshua was or wasn’t, I agree the Kingsmen Redeemer is a excellent view of what God accomplished through Yeshua as long as it is considered vicarious in nature rather than substitutionary.

  10. edward says:

    quote:
    For the L-rd Yeshua is One of the co-creaters– One Being of Our complex, Echad Elohim who said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness. . .”

    how MANY is yeshua?

    is yeshua 1 or is he different parts of 1 ? is the father 1 or is he different parts of 1 ?
    is the ghost 1 or is he different parts of 1 ?

    quote:
    Yet, to fulfill a promise, G-d went out of His way to take on flesh in order to redeem
    mankind according to the principals of “kinsman redeemer”.

    you know why it is a lie to say “god went out of his way to take on flesh” ?

    because if you are ALL seeing, ALL hearing, ALL controlling, then there is NEVER a time god is not ALL omni

    there is never a time when god can say “i don’t know the hour” because his OMNI all knowing attribute would cancel out any finite created thought. so it is a lie like i said .

    “G-d was forced to take on flesh”

    who forced him? his father ? human nature? satan?


    in order to fulfill His original redemptive promise– and so the Temunah of G-d descended from Right Hand of the Ancient of Days to earn the title of being “the Son of Man” as well as being the Divine Redeemer.”

    in all of this play that your god was doing, was there anytime he thought to himself, “hey, i have control and rule over the universe, if i forgive i don’t become helpless. why don’t i just forgive instead of doing what humans have been doing for thousands of years ? i make flesh and i’ve been making and taking life for billions of years. my ways are not humans ways and i am not a man “

    • KAVI says:

      Edward,
      Your ideas of “omni—-” in reference to G-d places Him in a box. Why? Because G-d often limits Himself for reasons unknown to mankind.

      When WE try to limit G-d– He simply could say, “Is anything too difficult for the L-RD?” [Genesis 18]

      A tiny sampling of G-d’s “limitations” show our ideas of “omni” fail,
      ** Explain HaSatan?
      ** Explain the philosophy of “free will” in relation to G-d’s rule over His creation?
      ** Explain G-d’s limited power from preventing Adam/Eve to sin?
      ** G-d could not find a way to “remove” the sin of Adam/Eve through repentance
      ** G-d grieved over the sins of mankind at the time of the flood
      ** G-d grieved over the sins of Israel
      ** G-d humbles Himself to take thought of mankind [Psalm 8]
      ** G-d limited Himself to use human intermediaries to write down the Tanakh
      ** etcetera . . .

      G-d often chooses to limit Himself– It’s His choice and it’s not sinful.
      ___________________

      • CP says:

        @KAVI,
        “G-d often chooses to limit Himself”

        I suppose that is one way to look at it, however supreme power under wise control is a thing of great beauty.

        • Dina says:

          Are we limiting God, to use Kavi’s term, if we say that God can’t commit suicide, can’t become mentally ill, can’t become dependent on another being for His existence? Just askin.

      • edward says:

        quote:
        A tiny sampling of G-d’s “limitations” show our ideas of “omni” fail,
        ** Explain HaSatan?
        ** Explain the philosophy of “free will” in relation to G-d’s rule over His creation?
        ** Explain G-d’s limited power from preventing Adam/Eve to sin?
        ** G-d could not find a way to “remove” the sin of Adam/Eve through repentance
        ** G-d grieved over the sins of mankind at the time of the flood
        ** G-d grieved over the sins of Israel
        ** G-d humbles Himself to take thought of mankind [Psalm 8]
        ** G-d limited Himself to use human intermediaries to write down the Tanakh
        ** etcetera . . .
        end quote

        it seems to me that your version of god is not in full control over the universe. it seems to me that you think that there are others who can will things into existence and have power over god. i don’t see how the god you worship is almighty or fits the following definition

        God
        ɡɒd/
        noun
        1.
        (in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.

        quote:
        ** G-d could not find a way to “remove” the sin of Adam/Eve through repentance
        ** G-d grieved over the sins of Israel
        ** G-d humbles Himself to take thought of mankind [Psalm 8]

        what is the point you calling your god “first cause” when he has many CAUSES within him and cannot be the ultimate and supreme being? why do your man worshipping chiristian philosophers talk about the ultimate causer of events /one who brings into existence from non-existence when we have a god likes yours who becomes subject to his own powers like when he “humbles himself” and has brain transplant taking on “thought of mankind” ?

      • edward says:

        “When WE try to limit G-d– He simply could say, “Is anything too difficult for the L-RD?” [Genesis 18]”

        Your ideas of “omni—-” in reference to G-d places Him in a box. Why?”

        we are talking about ESSENTIAL attributes of god which DEFINE who god is. without those essential attributes god could be any of the hindu gods that you know of .

        if gods seeing, hearing and control and power never switch off and continually “run”
        then there is never a time god could say to himself , ” i can’t see or hear what will happen next year in america” he would already see and hear.

        it is gods ATTRIBUTES which BOX god. not me.

        you man worshippers seem to see gods powers as some kind of thing which can latch on and latch off. what kind of god do you worship?

        • KAVI says:

          Edward,
          I worship the Creator who says, “I AM WHO I AM”.

          I worship a Creator who refuses to be “boxed in” by “mortal concepts” of what He can do– or what He cannot do.

          Only The Creator truly knows Himself– He does not need mankind to make up their own concepts of Him.

          For myself, I will abide by what the Creator “reveals and conceals” of Himself in Tanakh.

          Mankind always seems to be creating “arguable” concepts of G-d using very big words that are hard to pronounce and hard to understand.

          I prefer to let the Creator be the Creator.
          __________________________

          • Dina says:

            Kavi, can you tell me where the Creator says, “I am who I am”?

          • edward says:

            “I worship the Creator who says, “I AM WHO I AM”.”

            “abraham foresaw my day and he was glad”

            john thinks that abraham was sacrificing the christological lamb in genesis.
            john did not think jesus was “before abraham, yhwh”

            what? yhwh? before abraham , yhwh? incorrect. christological lamb was before abraham .
            john thinks abraham was sacrificing a super lamb/animal/human/mixed breed .

            your “i am ” seems to be nothing but super human god who can latch on and latch off his powers. the thing is you have plenty of super hero gods or super human gods in india and greek religions.

            here is one

            The greatest among the gods have drawn close to our city…

            Both Demeter and Demetrius…

            Hail to you, O Son of the mighty god Poseidon and of Aphrodite.

            The other gods dwell so far away,

            or else they have no ears,

            or they do not exist, or do not care at all about us

            We see you in our midst,

            not a wooden or stone presence, but bodily

            And so we pray to you… bring about peace

            for you are the Lord (κύριος)

            Notice what is said of Demetrius. He is one of the “greatest gods,” the son of God” (specifically of the gods Poseidon and Aphrodite), one who is “near” his own people – not remote, off on Mount Olympus, the one who “brings peace,” who can be called “Lord.”

            These ascriptions to Demetrius should sound familiar to anyone who knows about early Christianity, where Jesus too was known as the incarnation of a divine being, the Son of God, the bringer of peace, the Lord, and God in the flesh. My ultimate point: Jesus was not the first to be called such things, or thought to be a kind of incarnation of the divine. He had predecessors.

          • CP says:

            Ummmm……….
            I Am Who I Am = Not Likely
            I will be Who I will Be = Likely

  11. Yedidiah,
    Related to our conversation above, I’m saying that we should NOT think of Scripture as “One Book” that is all somehow “equal” and every word is “the Holy Word of God.” Not “The Bible” nor “The Jewish Bible”. Even using the acronym “Tanakh” makes you more predisposed to think of these texts as “one book.” I’m saying no. There should be priority among books, and priority within the Torah itself. No one in it’s pages ever said it’s all “equal.”

    In Orthodox Christian Church services they parade around the room holding the Book of the 4 Gospels. In Orthodox Jewish services sometimes, they parade around the room holding the Torah. (not “the Tanakh.”) And you call yourself Torah observant……

    The teaching of Jesus in Mark 7:9-13 is something that I have heard preached on numerous times, but never with an understanding of Torah. Clearly, Jesus is referring to the traditional application of the entire chapter of Leviticus 27. But I have never once heard a preacher even mention this. The tradition made Leviticus 27 sort of like an “offshore tax shelter” that could be used and manipulated by clever lawyers for their own personal gain, ignoring the more important and basic parts of The Law.

  12. edward says:

    “Only 3 of them wrote Scripture, Matthew John & Peter”

    these are all pauline influenced writers who are writing about post-crucified jesus.
    historians will tell you that there was no concept of dying and rising messiah in jesus’ day
    the gospel writers are reading dying and rising messiah into everything jesus says and does, except there are still clues left by these writers which

    are

    1. jesus thought the day of doom was coming soon and his deciples will be enthroned and rewarded on the earth

    2. jesus definately did not think he was going to be crucified if he thought he was the jewish messiah .

    quote:

    Well the Gospels are apologetics for the crucifixion, so they do not, in themselves, have overt clues that Jesus did *not* predict his own death. They are attempts at explanations after the fact. The reasons it is thought to be unlikely that Jesus predicted his own death and resurrection (aside from the fact that most sane people do not intentionally seek out one of the most brutal and agonizing forms of execution in history) is that there was no pre-Christian expectation that the Messiah was supposed to do that. It would have made no sense within the religious or historical context of Jesus and the disciples for a Messianic aspirant to say he would die. The notion of a Messiah dying for people’s sins was a Christian redefinition of the Messiah built around a need to explain the crucifixion

    • CP says:

      edward,

      Trust me, I hear what you’re saying, however where in Torah does it say to form synagogues, write a Mishnah, a Germara, 2 Talmuds and a create a Rabbinical system?

      You see the argument you use to reject Yeshua can just as easily be used to reject Rabbinical Judaism.

      (Btw, I reject neither, but think they Rabbinic Judaism & Contemporary Christianity are out of balance at opposite extremes. I hold to a view more in balance)

  13. CP says:

    @Matthew Perri,

    The Son of Man had no place to lay his head, consider yourself in good company!

  14. CP says:

    To Whom it may concern,

    I’ve enjoyed R’B’s Blogs and especially the Comment section, it has made me study and study and study!

    I’ve come to understand many erroneous Christian beliefs seeing them for what they are; a product of overzealousness mixed with some Greek mythsticism. Yet this does not discount in any way the possibility of a kernel of Truth which has been terribly perverted beyond a Jewish recognition.

    However there is one main thing that I cannot get past;
    God always sends somebody before big changes happen to let us know He is still with us in spite of circumstances which seem to say different. One good example of many is Jeremiah being sent by God to forewarn the destruction of Solomon’s Temple & the Babylonian Exile.

    The Babylonian Exile lasted only 70 years and God sent prophets. Are we expected to believe Hashem sent NO ONE preceding the destruction of the second Temple and a exile of almost 2000 years???

    One would think an exile of such magnitude (500 years longer than Israel occupied) would command a messenger of equal magnitude; perhaps one whose authority equaled Moses, or a great Angel or even a Ben Elohim?

    In my humble opinion, to say God sent NO ONE, impugns the very nature of God!

    • Yedidiah says:

      Do not lose faith by a delay of 2500 years that no one has come, or, according to the NT 2000 years or more. Rev 22:6-7… And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.” “And behold, I am coming soon….”

  15. CP says:

    Yedidiah says:
    “Who was sent before the Nazis or before 1948?”

    Where would you have someone sent to after 70-135 AD? With no Temple, no central leadership, no government of Isarel to whom would a prophet speak so that all may know? The one sent just prior to the destruction of the second Temple already foretold the Holocaust. Why would another be sent if the one sent before was ignored and killed for His message?

    Where JEWS & CHRISTIANS both fail is in not realizing WHAT Yeshua taught!

    Yeshua came preaching repentance…..right?

    The word Repentance = a U turn…….agree?

    Repentance = turning from sin……..still agree?

    And Repentance = turning from sin TO WHAT?

    What is really odd here is both JEWS & CHRISTIANS AGREE ON THE WRONG ANSWER!!!!!!!

    Jews and Christains both claim Yeshua preached turning from Torah keeping and a turning TO “himself” personally.

    Jews and Christians for this same belief, the former rejects Yeshua while the later accepts him.

    I submit an answer unpopular with both Jews and Christians. I submit Yeshua in his day and culture was preaching a turning from sin back to proper Torah observance originating from the heart.

    Not only did Yeshua exemplify this by living it, he died for it and promised a Spirit would be sent from God that would circumcise our hearts, to with us until the end of this Age. Those who believe are given a taste of what has been promised to be fulfilled in the days to come, in the Age of Messiah son of David.

    Christians reject me for believing in Torah
    Jews reject me for believing in Yeshua

    I simply and plainly believe Hashem gave both.

    • LarryB says:

      CP
      It’s not what you believe, it’s what you do. That’s all you need to focus on.

      • CP says:

        LarryB
        You know Larry, the more I dig, the more I agree with with that statement.
        Thank you for the reminder.

        • LarryB says:

          CP
          Of course all these teachings should change you.
          “I submit an answer unpopular with both Jews and Christians. I submit Yeshua in his day and culture was preaching a turning from sin back to proper Torah observance originating from the heart.”
          Who would be better to teach you Torah observance? Christians?

          • CP says:

            LarryB,
            “Who would be better to teach you Torah observance? Christians?”

            If it is a choice between Jews and Christians; obviously, observant Jews, but at what cost? The rejection of Yeshua as Moshiach Ben Yoseph? The rejection of the indwelling Spirit of God?

            However, that aside, following Observant Jews is not without its oddities. For example; fire needs oxygen, yet ones unscrews a refrigerator light bulb which is designed to keep oxygen away from the bulb element so it won’t burn. So perhaps they have reinterpreted fire as changing the temperture of something? It would seem they have added to Torah to keep Torah, thereby breaking Torah. There are many such rules as these.

            This happened most recently: I was out feeding my horses (permissible on Sabbath) and my sweat pants kept falling down, (I don’t get dressed in regular clothes on Sabbath). Here I was confronted with 3 choices; 1) pick up a hay string and use it as a impromptu belt. 2) walk all the way back to the house and put on pants. 3) keep pulling them up as they continued to fall down. The far easiest thing to do was use a hay string, but one is not allowed to tie a knot on the Sabbath! And even if I had a Rabbi* and had my cell phone with me I’m not alowed to use it to ask my Rabbi* who wouldn’t answer anyway.

            Then on the other end of the scale there are the Reform Jews. I am a member of the closest synagogue which happens to be Reform (there are no other choices here). Last month they allied with a local LBGT organization to show a film on Nazi Germany. While I believe God instructs us to be tolerant of others, He also instructs us Not to embrace their sin. Quite frankly I was appalled and therefore did not attend.

            So LarryB, your question is just not that simple.

            I do try to be Torah observant by reading the Torah and doing what it says. If I’m confused I study like anyone else, but also read the words of Yeshua and pray to Hashem asking for His Spirit to show me. This has resulted in a far more balanced Observance than I see in either Orthodox or Reform.

            Quite frankly, If it wasn’t for the unreasonable, illogical demand to reject Yeshua as Moshiaich Ben Yoseph then I would of made conversion years ago and been living in Israel today. I am not causing this rift between brothers, it is modern Judaism, however, I am trying to repair it.

            *Yeshua said there is only One Teacher.
            (This does not disallow us helping each other out)

          • Dina says:

            You alone, after 2000 years, have discovered the one true way to serve God. Better than Christianity, better than Judaism. Why does that not trouble you?

          • Dina says:

            CP, I would like to respond to your following statement:

            “Quite frankly, If it wasn’t for the unreasonable, illogical demand to reject Yeshua as Moshiaich Ben Yoseph then I would of made conversion years ago and been living in Israel today. I am not causing this rift between brothers, it is modern Judaism, however, I am trying to repair it.”

            Please understand that according to our strict standards of monotheism, your worship constitutes idolatry. I know you disagree, but I ask you to take a moment to view this from our perspective.

            Thus, from our perspective, your belief in Jesus in idolatrous.

            It violates our most sacred commitment to God.

            In response, you argue that Jesus is Mashiach ben Yosef. Your argument is based on speculation which in turn is based on cherry picking ideas from the Talmudic two-messiahs theory. Furthermore, when we ask for one good reason to accept Jesus, your response is the strength of your personal, emotional experience of Jesus. Outside of this, you have consistently refused to give one good reason to accept Jesus.

            To present a Jew with this argument, a Jew who sees your worship as idolatry, and then to call his “demand to reject Yeshua as Moshiaich Ben Yoseph” an “unreasonable, illogical” one is unjust.

            Instead, from our perspective, it is unreasonable and illogical to demand acceptance of Jesus which Jews see as the gravest possible sin against God–simply based on your wishes.

            From our perspective, your insistence that we accept idol-worshipping Jews (and I do not mean that pejoratively) into our fold will not repair the rift you claim you are trying to repair; it will drive it wide open.

          • CP says:

            Dina,

            Being alone or in the majority is not a qualifier of Truth.

            Besides, I am not alone. There is and always has been a remnant of Torah observant believers in Yeshua as Moshiach Ben Yoseph.

            Doesn’t it trouble you rejecting concepts found in Talmud which align with apparent history?. Or rejecting Daniel when he passes on to you that Messiah must come before the destruction of the Temple and end of sacrifice?

            It should trouble you that the Tanach, Rabbis and Talmuds depict two representations of Messiah, one suffering and one conquering, but you only accept one.

            Why do you put more value on modern day dogma instead of your traditions?

          • Dina says:

            CP, I am responding to your comment here:

            https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/foundation-of-worship-ii/#comment-30738

            I agree that majority or minority does not prove the truth of any particular belief, position, theology, ideology, or what have you. Nevertheless, I would be very worried about one individual. I would be concerned if I thought that after thousands of years, I alone have discovered the truth about God and how to serve Him. I would want to know how I came to be so wise, wiser than anyone else on the planet? I would wonder, how do I know that I have been appointed God’s prophet, to know this with such certitude? Do you see what is troubling me?

            You claim that there has always been a remnant of Jews who both believed in Jesus as Mashiach ben Yosef and kept the Torah. I am very curious about this claim. Can you substantiate it? Can you provide a way to identify this remnant throughout history? In other words, can you prove this is a historical fact rather than wishful thinking?

            To that end, I would like to present you with a challenge. Let us take the last millennium. For each century beginning with the year 1000 to the present time, I will match the names of two members of the Torah observant remnant of Jews to the names of two members of your Torah observant Jesus-believing remnant. If that is too difficult, I am willing to go one-for-one. I think it would be fair to also name the place of birth and the dates of birth to death.

            If your claim is true, it should be easy for you. Are you up for the challenge?

            You asked me about several things which should trouble me. I do not know which concepts in the Talmud align with history that you claim I reject, so I cannot answer you on that. As for Daniel, Rabbi B. has answered this question in articles on Daniel on this very blog, and I agree with what he wrote. Rather than write reams of text, I ask you to save me the time and read those very enlightening articles. Finally, it is you, not I, that properly understands and accepts the two-messiahs theory of the Talmud, as I have explained more than once. (Rabbi B. has explained this to you as well.)

            Below is a link to an article about Daniel.

            https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/daniel-924-27/

            If you have questions about it, please address them to Rabbi B., as I am terrible at math :).

    • Yedidiah says:

      Jesus failed to be convincing, so he failed to be any type of true messiah. Even his disciples supposedly were confused by what his message was & most died before the war with Rome began and before the Temple (that Jesus had supposedly “cleansed” or failed to cleanse) was captured. If James, Peter, & John had 10000 zealots, how many of these were left standing when their temple was captured or how of these repentant followers of Jesus seem Jesus & the Kingdom come? If it was mostly non-repentent Jews (the weeds cut down?) who were killed defending their & Jesus’ father’s house or taken as prisoners to Rome, what happened to “Jesus’s seed”, the remnant? The seed, the repentant as prophesied by the prophets & Jesus, were enough to rebuild the Temple. Legend has it that many followers of Jesus escaped to Pella (most likely the Pella that was controlled by Rome), but nothing is heard from them again. An oral gospel was developed later, but it differed from community to community. Most of the gospel that survived to be written down also differed from community or Christian center to center (difference between the beliefs & writings between those at Antioch and those at Alexandria and Rome). Jesus spoke Aramaic so quite a bit of Jesus was lost in translation to Greek. What was written, or if you prefer, what was preserved to today, was wriitten almost 100-150 years after Jesus supposedly had died. Of those few followers who were literate, little was known or mentioned about the gospels. Some folks believe that Jesus had some sort of power after he died; if so, he failed miserably again to keep Paul from corrupting his message & from preventing most Christians from commiting the errors that you believe they have committed. A few people today (“lone wolves” or those belonging to one of the many small groups with divergent beliefs) believe that they are the true church & believe they have the “real truth” of Jesus’s teachings. But most Christians & most Jews strongly disagree with those few who have “special revelation”.

      • CP says:

        Yedidiah,

        It is only considered or called “special revelation” because the majority are following the traditions of man or no tradition at all. Modern Judaism and Christianity are sisters from the same religion. What Orthodoxy has done to Judaism can be compared to what the Catholics did to Christianity. What Reform Judaism has done to Judaism can be compared to what the Protestant Evangelicals have done to Christianity.

        However there are some who don’t blindly follow. Broadly speaking I do Not include the Messianic Movement as those think and study for themselves, but rather more of a pseudo movement combining elements of Judaism with Christian dogma. The Hebrew Roots people appear to be a more honest bunch (excluding some of their celebrities) and I think some creedance should be allowed the Karaites although I think they need balanced view of Oral Torah rather than complete rejection.

        The bottom line is there are some of us who see Yeshua in light of Tanach and Talmuds as Moshiach Ben Yoseph. We are rejected by Jews even though such a view is within the acceptable confines of Judaism. We are rejected by Christians for observing Torah even though Yeshua himself lived and taught Torah observance.

        Call it “special revelation” if you like, but ask yourself what makes it “special” and why is it a “revelation”. Remember, Tanach and Talmuds both promise special revelation from Messiah.

        • Yedidiah says:

          How is following Jesus (no matter who one is following or which sect one is from) not following the traditions based on a man & men? When the book of John is so very different from Matthew’s book (despite what Matthew P thinks, Luke is closer to Matthew than John is) whose tradition should we follow? In some ways Jesus teachers a stricter, more harsh law than Torah, while on the other he is less observant of the law and in some cases closer to teaching of modern Reform Jews. According to whichever gospel one uses, there was division while he was alive. Who wrote that Jesus said that some who were “not of Jesus’s disciples” & healed in Jesus’ name could continue, since they could not long do & say what they did? Is there no power in his name or his teachings? Denial & betrayal (planned by God?) by his own disciples who seen him & was taught by him day after day)?

          • CP says:

            Yedidiah,

            Considering we are in somewhat agreement on the NT texts I can see the confusion this must cause for one accustomed to following every jot and tittle of a inspired, infallible, inerrant text such as the Torah, (although in this we “somewhat” agree).

            To explain; just as the written Torah was given to bring us to God and is not God in itself. So the writings of the NT are also not to be viewed as God, but only to introduce us to living Messiah who has promised to help us fulfill the requirements of Torah.

            Yeshua and the Tanach promised to send us a Spirit from God to be with us, in us and to guide us into all truth. Granted this is a promise ultimately fulfilled in Moshiach Ben David, but we have been given a taste in Moshiciah Ben Yoseph as a promise guaranteeing the coming of Moshiach Ben David.

            Therefore what matters more than the Words is the Spirit of God living in a person. Since God’s Spirit doesn’t rob you of your free will, the Words (Tanach & NT) are welcome guides. However this does not prevent people claiming the Spirit of God from abusing and exploiting the Scriptures to their own destruction.

            In summary; the cliche; “Following Jesus” (in reality) is not following any particular doctrine, but rather following the Spirit of God which will lead to Messiah and the Scriptures which in turn lead to Hashem.

            On a side note;
            Obviously God has allowed Judaism and Christianity to flourish side by side. Perhaps God is not as ridged in some things as one might think, but rather uses different tools for different projects to build one house. Are we the Architect that we would have a say in the building process before the house is finished, not even knowing what it is supposed to look like when it is done?

          • Yedidiah says:

            CP; There are many confused by the NT text who do or did not follow every jot and tittle of the Torah text. That was 1 reason that previously I alluded to Jesus speaking to thousands who had come to hear him and they were “put off” by him. Many of these were Galilean Jews (I am assuming most were Jews & Galileans – people of the land – so most would not likely be observant & many might be “sinners, but Jesus as a “doctor” did not come for the righteous who needed no doctor. So if they were sinners truly hoping to be healed, they left unhealed, because of Jesus words, most of what was written, was not Torah.

            I don’t know of anyone any text is or was God. That would be close to idolatry, just as spirit of God in a person could be idolatry, especially if one would worship a person who is claimed to be filled with a spirit (how could a person tell whether it is a good or a bad spirit or ego or un-wellness)? The words matter because how does one get that spirit without reading or hearing or getting some type of “revelation”?

            I guess most people would not assume to be the architect, but rather the builders or carpenters or other worker, most of whom do not read to see any blueprints, but they are very essential to theccompletion of the house (or perhaps instead of building one might we set about repairing the world as kabbalists & other Jews might say) . Put in a more religious context, we are here for some purpose, and that is to do something and not simply to believe in something & feel something.

    • Dina says:

      CP, you wrote, “God always sends somebody before big changes happen to let us know He is still with us in spite of circumstances which seem to say different” (my emphasis).

      Yedidiah challenged you thus: “Who was sent before the Nazis or before 1948?”

      You then qualified your original statement by asserting that there was no place to send someone without a Temple or central leadership.

      I find it troubling that you changed your argument, a habit of yours I have pointed out several times before.

      Having said that, you might like to know that during Jesus’s time, the majority of Jews (or vast numbers of them) were not living in Israel and could not have “benefited” from his “teachings” or his “prophecies.”

      • CP says:

        The accusation that I changed my argument is a veiled deflection, you’ve still not answered the question: without a centralized Israel, to whom would someone be sent so that all would know?

        • Yedidiah says:

          What accusation & what veiled deflection?

          There is no question to whom. The prophets weren’t expecting a centralized Israel before the messianic age, but one could exist. And who the “someone” is relatively unimportant. But it was not Jesus or Yeshua.

          • CP says:

            Yedidiah,

            Let’s back track a bit:

            I said God sends someone before effecting big changes.
            You asked about Nazis and 1948.
            I replied, without a centralized Israel to whom would you have God send someone that all would know?
            Now I’m accused of changing the argument with the added caveat this is what I always do.

            Let’s look at Tanach; All through the time of Israel God sends someone before big changes. At the destruction of the 2nd Temple Israel is to undergo the biggest and longest change of her life, and God sends no one???

            (Btw, before WWII there were many Dutch Christians who said God told them to stock up and store food. These were the same ones who later had enough food to feed the Jews they were hiding out).

          • Yedidiah says:

            And some Dutch Christians were not all Christians in Europe & some sided with the Nazis, so that is a fallacious argument.

          • CP says:

            Yedidiah,

            When it comes to human nature relating to God, your argument of ‘all or nothing’ to prove truth is indeed the fallacious argument.

          • Yedidiah says:

            I defininely am not “all or nothing” on anything. And not on “human nature relating to God”, but i am not really sure I understand your claim. I do try my best to present counter-points to arguments that I feel are “absolutist” & closed-minded. I try to counter with logic and with references that individuals can look into themselves, if they have a mind to. But it seems some people are unwilling to examine what they believe despite the evidence. Maybe it might help if I said I am no fan of Paul & never was. And i prefer Peter & James/Yaakov over John & Paul. And I feel that Judaism offers more than any of them or more than “Jesus-alone”.

        • Dina says:

          CP, this question applies equally in Jesus’s time when great centers of Jewish learning existed outside of Israel.

      • Yedidiah says:

        And most Jews who were in Israel did not find him convincing (many who supposedly flocked to him said his teachings were to hard to follow- I read those same verses as too pagan). Don’t blame the students for the teacher’ failure especially since the teacher was supposedly sent for that specific purpose. Otherwise there was no reason to “send” anyone, especially if the message was supposedly corrupted by Paul while the “true” disciples were mostly still alive & who accepted a Paul as a worthy teacher. At the end of the 1st century c.e., it was believed that there were no more than 1000 Jews who accepted Jesus no matter who they heard the gospel from.

        • CP says:

          Yedidiah,

          The problem with the view Paul was accepted, does not take into account; it is the victors who write history.

          • Yedidiah says:

            One of the questions I was trying to raise was why was Paul part of the victory? The church “syncretized” Peter & Paul. Both sides were included. Would there be a Christianity today if that was not so? I suspect the church would be almost entirely Pauline.

            I am going to let you & MP in on a “secret”. I am no fan of Paul. I much prefer Peter over Paul. My favorite NT text was James or rather Yaakov. I once liked Matthew’s gospel & was thinking of becoming a messianic “Jew”, but their evangelical nature & love of Paul put me off. I belong to & was in a “Hebrew Roots” church hours ago. I won’t drop names, but this church has many connections with Jews in the US, Europe, & in Israel, including Chief Rabbis & the current & a recently deceased Prime Minister. But I am not going to try to re-write the NT or church history or white-wash NT, because i wish things 1900 years ago were different.

          • CP – Amen. Yedidiah, interesting.
            “The church “syncretized” Peter & Paul. ”
            AMEN.
            I’ve said it before, but most people don’t know, or don’t grasp, the monumental importance of what the first created “New Testament” was. It was Marcion’s creation, containing nothing except 10 of Paul’s letters and an abbreviated Gospel of Luke. And the heretic Marcion said it replaced the “Old Testament.” So the original New Testament contained nothing written by the Original Apostles Jesus appointed….. !!!!

            We have let this heretic define the terms and frame the discussion without thinking about it. We have put these misleading labels on our texts. Then we run ahead and quote scholars from the 4th century and beyond regarding their opinion about “what should be in the New Testament canon.”

  16. CP says:

    Yedidiah,

    “A few people today (“lone wolves” or those belonging to one of the many small groups with divergent beliefs) believe that they are the true church & believe they have the “real truth” of Jesus’s teachings. But most Christians & most Jews strongly disagree with those few who have “special revelation”.”

    This would agree with Yeshua’s words; ‘the way is narrow and few find it’.

    • Yedidiah says:

      One reason there are so many divisions in Christianity is that there are so many self-proclaimed “prophets” who “cherry pick” verses to defend their points when they are questioned. Cherry-picking a verse to make a claim just leads another to select one of other many verses to counter that point & claim. What are the consequences of a narrow way in a wilderness or a jungle? What sort of savior would go to so much trouble to save few who make it across a tight-rope?

      A “few” also have err & stray & get lost in the wilderness, So, Jesus also said that the “good shepherd” (or Messiah) will even believe that a single stray sheep is worthy of being saved & brought back to the flock. A short-sighted (penny pinching) or bad shepherd might abandon a whole flock to be subject to attack by wolves by going after a few or 1 sheep. But there are other ways fo save all. The prophets promised a messiah that would make a way wide & straight through the wilderness for the many too stream to Zion. The few don’t need a messiah & a few don’t make a glorious kingdom on earth nor is heaven meant to be a lonely, near desert place nor is hell meant to filled with the many Jews & billions of Christians who love & obey God, but not in your exclusivist club way. A virtually empty heaven sounds ok for a devil, but a messiah worthy of being a servant of a good God would not think so.

      • Yedidiah,
        You wrote QUOTE: “A short-sighted (penny pinching) or bad shepherd might abandon a whole flock to be subject to attack by wolves by going after a few or 1 sheep.”

        You are right- I agree. You are describing LUKE’s “Jesus” in Luke 15:3-7, and unfortunately, Luke got it wrong. Not completely wrong, he got the general idea, but since Luke didn’t know Jesus or His ways personally, he missed crucial details.

        The real “Good Shepherd” gave His word through His Apostle Matthew 18:12-14.

        Observe “on the hills” (protected) vs. “in the open country” (unprotected) and “IF he finds it” vs. “WHEN he finds it”….. and being happy vs. boasting and bragging to others…..

        You made a plea for “Christians” to “clean up their New Testament mess and agree on basic principles.” I agree wholeheartedly. I believe the Apostle Peter faced the same basic issue in a preliminary form near the end of his life, and he blessed us with this advice:

        “I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.” [2 Peter 3:2]

        Than means The Torah, The Prophets, and the teaching of Jesus recorded by the Gospel writers Matthew and John (confirming and expanding on Mark, who was the scribe of Peter and other Apostles who could not write.)

        Not Paul the false apostle. Not the “teaching of Jesus” written by Luke, such as
        .1) this false parable, or
        .2)depicting the image of God as an “unjust judge” who has to be nagged to death to do what is right, or
        .3) An owner who “commends the dishonest manager for acting shrewdly”.
        Luke’s gospel is alone in recording these things. We should largely ignore the TEACHINGS of Jesus through Luke, since Luke didn’t know Jesus personally, and was not familiar with the voice of Jesus personally. Yes, Luke’s writings have value – he was a good investigative reporter, and recorded important narrative details through many interviews with people like Mary. Yet, Luke never claimed that his own writings were “the word or God” or “inerrant”……

        • Yedidiah says:

          I see you have your own “canon” accepting some like 2nd Peter & rejecting Luke. About 325 c.e., before the NT canon was considered closed, Eusebius divided the writings about Jesus or the early church into 3 or 4 groups based on if they were used or read in all of the different Christian communities or sects/churches; the accepted (read & accepted by almost every Christian group), the “antilegomena” or disputed (accepted as apostolic or read in some communities, but not in others), and the “heretical” and/or “spurious”. The “disputed writings” were widely read in the Early Church and included the letters, 2 Peter, James, Jude, 2 & 3 John, Barnabas, letter to the Hebrews, the book of Revelation of John, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Gospel of the Hebrews, the Acts of Paul, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Didache.

          The original Syrian Peshitta NT translated from the Greek (about 5th century) excluded the disputed 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude, and Revelation, but a 7th century version accept all 5 as canon. The Protestant Luther considered as disputed text, Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation, and the Lutheran church later considered 2 Peter, 2 John, and 3 John as disputed texts. The vast majority of modern scholars regard 2 Peter as pseudepigraphical (the claimed author is not the true author).

          There are several reasons to regard 2 Peter as written in the 2nd century & not by Peter or one of his disciples; the linguistic differences from 1 Peter, its apparent use of Jude, possible allusions to 2nd-century gnosticism, & its encouragement of followers troubled because of such great delay of the parousia. The letter also refers to the Pauline epistles and considers them as scripture. I believe this is the only place where a NT writing refers to other NT writings as authoritative as scripture.

          Talking about Paul & Marcion, etc., below are some views by early church leaders who would not agree with you on Paul’s writings.

          Justin Martyr (possibly born ~100 and died ~ 165), was one of the preeminent apologist of the early church and a vigorous opponent of both Gnosticism and Marcionism. But he quoted freely from the Pauline Epistles, including Hebrews.

          Irenaeus (~ 130 to ~ 200 c.e.) was a great fighter against heresy including Marcionism & gnosticism. He was the first to adopt Marcion’s notion of a new scripture and he produced the first known catholic canon. He used the idea of canon to fight heresies, including Marcion’s. He defended Acts by pointing out that it was illogical to accept Luke’s gospel and reject Acts (as the Marcionites did). He defended the “4 gospels” since the several different “heretic” sects each may have only accepted one of their favorites of the 4 or they accepted one or more more of the “spurious” or non-canonical gospels. He didn’t really see much need to defend the known Pauline letters since the “heretics” also acknowledged them as authoritative.

          (The main articles sources used; “The Emergence of the New Testament Canon” on orthoxinfo.com, the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, the Catholic Encyclopedia, and the Lutheran Cyclopedia).

          • Yedidiah,
            You wrote QUOTE: “Irenaeus (~ 130 to ~ 200 c.e.) was a great fighter against heresy including Marcionism & gnosticism. He was the first to adopt Marcion’s notion of a new scripture and he produced the first known catholic canon. He used the idea of canon to fight heresies, including Marcion’s.”

            Yes, it was just “Marcion’s notion”…. “the idea of canon “.
            The idea that every word in certain “approved books” is “equal” and all equally “the inspired inerrant word of God”, all equal in authority and importance. The idea that either it’s “Scripture”, “God’s Word”, “in the canon” ….. or it’s not. The idea that there is no difference in authority level or importance among Torah, Nabi’im and Kethuvim, Law, Prophets & Writings (“Scripture”), but rather it’s all just “the Tanach”, one book, and it’s all equal….. and if you’re a “Christian”, that’s all just “The Old Testament”, one old outdated irrelevant book, which has been replaced by a new book, the “New Testament”…..

            These terms, “Old Testament” and “New Testament”, and the view of Scripture behind the terms, are just Marcion’s notions, creations, and ideas. Some Scriptures, some teachings, are more important than others. Who gets to decide that? My answer is, Jesus the Son of God, speaking through the Apostles who knew Him personally for over 3 years. The were familiar with His ways and teachings, and what His voice sounded like. (Matthew, John and Peter)

            In John chapters 13-17, we have almost 5 chapters of Yeshua speaking.
            Yeshua said “I pray also for those who will believe in me through THEIR message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” [John 17:20-21]
            THEIR message is the message of the 11 Apostles in the room at the Last Supper. Neither Paul nor Luke were there.

            The Apostle Matthew ends his Gospel with Yeshua speaking to the same 11 men, commissioning them to teach people to obey “everything I have commanded YOU.” [Matthew 28:20] Everything Yeshua commanded the 11 Apostles He personally appointed. Not everything Paul commanded or Luke wrote – they were not there.

          • Yedidiah says:

            On what basis are you promoting some type of “cafeteria Jesus/Yeshua” (Jesus or Yeshua are the same person; both names are transliterated into English so neither one is exactly the same as the name as written in your NT texts or in the spoken Aramaic)? On what basis do you select text out of the total set of writings, when none of them are the original writings & most or all have been redacted, edited, & maybe corrupted, and we don’t know the author of most or all of those writings? Plus any text we have today is really based on several different copies of the book because, for instance their are several different ancient copies of Matthew & each differs from the other in a few or many verses & someone today decides from which copy we should use for each verse. Each translator might use different verses from another translator & then translators might disagree with other translators on how best to translate each verse. You might have a case for a few of your points, if you had good copies made from the original & if you knew the authors & their true motives for their writing. You might be following a liar and a heretic.

            No one that I have ever heard or read said that Jewish or Christian writings were all equal. The 5 books of Torah was established long before Jesus, Paul -who knew far more about the “real Jesus”, not the “book Jesus”, than you do -, or Marcion. Observant Jews read the entire 5 books each year, along with selected portions of other non-Torah writings, either weekly or on holidays. We might say books, but each book was written on separate scrolls (long books might be split between 2 separate scrolls, but considered as 1 book, e.g., Kings & not 1st Kings & 2nd Kings). Psalms, which itself is a collection of writings, or Malachi are not considered equal to the “5 Books of Moses”. Some Jews collected some books as a “canon”, part of what we call the “Dead Sea Scrolls”, but that doesn’t mean that all those writings are to be considered as authoritative for all Jews. By the time Christians were writing texts, most writings was done on several skins or papyrus pages and then sewn sort of like our books today.

            Writings today can be collected together into 1 book, which can be called a Tanach so that we know the contents of the book. It is absurd to believe that each “book” becomes equal just because they bound together for convenience sake. It is absurd to be obsessed with believing all are somehow made equal. Put another way, when you go grocery shopping do you put bread in one basket & milk in another and candles in another? Or, put all in 1 basket or one bag and then since they are all equal, do you eat the milk and try to drink the bread and candles? The books of the NT are to be considered as equal in the sense that this NT is different from this book called “Moby Dick”, or this one called an “Encyclopedia, Volume 1”.

          • Yedidiah says:

            I reject your unfounded claim “that every word in certain “approved books” is “equal” and all equally “the inspired inerrant word of God”, all equal in authority and importance”. If you know of people (I don’t) who believe that, present your case to them.

            My point is that you are trying to make a case (I think) to Jews. You must first try to make a case that he even existed. Then make a case that a person in a book (and you don’t even know who wrote the original book before it became corrupted or when) knew Jesus & present him truthfully. Luke wasn’t there, but neither were you. And Luke agrees with Matthew (who you assume was the gospel writer & was there) more than John agrees with Matthew.

            By not looking at NT writings open-mindedly, you fail at presenting a reasonable case or apologetics. By criticizing most of the NT, you actually undermine all of it. In effect, you throw the proverbial baby out with the dirty bathwater. You try to feed someone a kosher sandwich after you dug it out of the trashcan. But some Jews have said in effect, what is good about Jesus isn’t anything new to them and what is new about him isn’t good.

            One of the big failures of Jesus was that he didn’t write his own story and his own teachings down. Nor did anybody else. He left it in the hands of a few fallible men, so maybe he didnt think his real teachings were all that important?

          • CP says:

            Yedidiah,
            Your statement “On what basis do you select text out of the total set of writings, when none of them are the original writings…..” paints you into the same corner. As I’m sure you know, the Hebrew Torah you read is a translation into the square script. I could go on but out of respect and not wanting to get side tracked; you’re in danger of being the pot that called the kettle black.

            However to plainly answer your question; “Christian” texts are judged by the Tanach. Many believe since the NT has been canonized qualifies it on equal ground with Torah, I am Not one of those. In fact there is much of the NT I currently reject on the grounds it disagrees with Tanach. Do I have it all figured out? Haha, if I did I could quit studying!

            Based on Tanach there is nothing in the proper understanding of Yeshua which precludes him from being Moshiach Ben Yoseph.

          • Yedidiah, (cc to CP)
            You wrote QUOTE:
            “It is absurd to believe that each “book” becomes equal just because they bound together for convenience sake. It is absurd to be obsessed with believing all are somehow made equal.”
            AMEN AMEN. I’m so glad we, and CP, agree on this point.
            And yet,
            most “Bible believing Christians” believe just that, because they keep chanting their mantra from Paul “All Scripture is God-breathed.” And they reinterpret this to mean “The 66 Books of the Bible.”
            Only Paul said this, one time, and no one in the pages of the Bible agrees with Paul on this. To top it off, it’s out of context, and if you read the previous verse, 2 Timothy 3:15, you see that Paul must have been referring to “the Tanach”. It’s impossible that he was referring to his own letters or “The Bible” which was not completed yet. Paul wrote about Timothy knowing the Holy Scriptures since his infancy – and those Scriptures include the very letter Paul is in process of writing? It is ABSURD.

            But unconsciously, you seem to be still sort of coming in with the same mindset. As CP noted, if you ask “On what basis do you select text out of the total set of writings,…” you are still thinking in terms of a “total set” of “all Scripture” to “select from.”

            The voice I am listening to first is Jesus, through His Chosen Apostles. In terms of books, I take the original Orthodox position, for almost 2000 years now – the 4 Gospels above all other texts, with Matthew and John on top, since they are Apostles.

            I visited a large Orthodox Church, and they had a circular dome above the middle of the sanctuary, which is common. There were images of 4 men as “pillars” supporting the dome, with 2 given the prominent places in front. Who? Peter and Paul, like in Rome? NO.
            It was the 4 Gospel writers, with Matthew and John in front.

            At another Orthodox Church, there was a huge image of the risen Jesus behind the altar. He was surrounded by 4 books. On the top 2 corners were Matthew & John’s Gospels, with lots of gold adornment. On the bottom right corner of Jesus was Mark’s Gospel, with less adornment. On the bottom left corner of Jesus was Luke’s Gospel, with no adornment at all.

          • Yedidiah,
            I ALSO COMPLETELY REJECT the unfounded claim “that every word in certain “approved books” is “equal” and all equally “the inspired inerrant word of God”, all equal in authority and importance”.

            To expose this falsehood,
            I was simply stating and summarizing the common but false heretical view of most “Bible-believing” people today.

            By the way,
            Other then the first stone version of the 10 commandments, which Moses smashed, what did God write with his own hand?

          • CP
            You wrote QUOTE
            “Christian” texts are judged by the Tanach. Many believe since the NT has been canonized that qualifies it on equal ground with Torah, …..
            I am Not one of those EITHER!
            AMEN.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Are we to assume then that you have no problem with Rabbi B’s post above?

          • CP says:

            Personally I agree with R’B’s above post. I think the key phrase in it is “Christians seem confused”. Although I disagree this is a blanket statement applicable to each and every Christian, but I would concede the majority.

            God is patient, however unless there is repentance, judgement is coming for Contemporary Christianity.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Is God patient or is he content with Christianity as-is? That might mean you are wrong or at least in a tolerable minority?

            You brought up an interesting thing with syncreticism. If you accept that that was the case we can’t accept the book of Acts as true since it is just trying to shoehorn the minority “Judaizers” version of Jesus into the Gentile’s Jesus which was a “cosmic’, heavenly, other worldly Jesus of the Greeks. That is why all the oldest texts about Jesus are in Greek, not Aramaic as one would expect of Jesus’ followers if he was a Jew. Why didn’t Jesus write anything; well, a cosmic being wouldn’t write anything, that’s why God revealed himself to Paul. No, I think your theory has a few problems although it does explain a lot of our recorded history.

          • Dina says:

            CP, in another comment, perhaps on another thread, you wrote that God has allowed Christianity and Judaism to flourish side by side. I don’t remember the point you made except that it proved something positive about both religions. I think it was something like, both paths are favored by God? Whatever your point, however, two things must be said.

            First, the Christianity that God has allowed to flourish for thousands of years is the type of Christianity you deplore, as in the above comment.

            Second, God has allowed Islam to flourish, and in fact, today it is the fastest-growing religion in the world. What does that say about Islam? What does that say, in fact, about all religions that God has allowed to flourish, including Buddhism and Hinduism (which predates even Judaism)?

          • Yedidiah,
            You wrote about QUOTE: ….”we can’t accept the book of Acts as true …..”

            This reflects that you are still unconsciously chanting Paul’s mantra that “all Scripture is God-breathed.” You say you don’t believe that every word in every book is equal and all equally “the word of God”, yet this comment shows your underlying view. So without realizing it, you are still holding to that false view that certain books are “all completely true” or else they are all false, the false view that either it’s “Scripture” or it’s not…… You say you don’t believe that – but really you still do, apparently.

            What does “accept” mean, and what does “true” mean to you here?

          • CP says:

            Dina,

            You wrote;
            “First, the Christianity that God has allowed to flourish for thousands of years is the type of Christianity you deplore, as in the above comment.”

            Second, God has allowed Islam to flourish, and in fact, today it is the fastest-growing religion in the world. What does that say about Islam? What does that say, in fact, about all religions that God has allowed to flourish, including Buddhism and Hinduism (which predates even Judaism)?”

            Dina,
            Even though it is a Christianity I deplore, embedded in it (whether they like it or not) is a trail of bread crumbs leading to Torah. It must be noted these same people without Christianity would know nothing of Torah, GOD or even be expecting a future Messiah. So let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

            As to your second assertion, you are correct; Islam has flourished, but again it also values (to some extent) Torah, Monotheism, and a future Messiah, (12th Imam). Although their claim to Abraham through Ishmael is doubtful even by their own scholars they can still be considered an Abrahamic religion due to ideology borrowed from Tanach.

            Both Islam and Contemporary Christianity are “set-up” to accept the Truth.

            As for Hinduism and Buddhism; I’ve spent time in Nepal and India, contrary to what people think, these are very dark religions promising a good path to enlightenment but do not make good on their promise, for the begining of Wisdom is the fear of GOD. These religions exist only because GOD has given man free will and their ancestors chose darkness. However without darkness how could GOD, Torah and Messiah be light for them.

            The question becomes; Who is going to bring them this light? Or more specifically and hitting closer to home; Who has Torah assigned to bring them the Light?

  17. Yedidiah,
    You wrote QUOTE:
    There are several reasons to regard 2 Peter as written in the 2nd century & not by Peter or one of his disciples; the linguistic differences from 1 Peter, ………………. The letter also refers to the Pauline epistles and considers them as scripture. I believe this is the only place where a NT writing refers to other NT writings as authoritative as scripture.

    .1) If you would take the time to read these two short letters, you would see that “linguistic differences” between the two letters is a small piece of evidence that they are they are both authentically from Peter. (No it’s not conclusive proof.). Peter says in the first letter that he wrote it with help of Silas. By the time of the Second letter, Peter had learned enough to write it himself.

    .2) Along with most of the “Christian world” you are using the term “Scripture” in a loaded manner, implying that it is synonymous with “The Word of God”. And you indirectly implying that “Scripture” is equal to other new created terms like “The Bible” containing “The Old Testament” and “The New Testament” “canon.”

    The Apostle Peter did not refer to Paul’s letters as “authoritative as scripture.” If you can’t take time to read his 2 short letters, at least read the entire chapter of 2 Peter chapter 3. I am so sick of people twisting a few words form Peter out of context to make is seem that Peter was “endorsing” Paul, when really it was rather the opposite – it was more of a warning. Peter politely made the point that Paul was NOT an apostle, Paul had some wisdom (not revelation or God’s words) about one particular subject, namely the end times, and Paul’s writings were “difficult to understand” so we should beware and not take Paul too seriously.

    • Yedidiah says:

      Silas or Silvanus was the letter bearer sent from Peter as a trusted “brother” & not the secretary. And he became a companion of Paul & Timothy (who had a Jewish mother & a Greek father)? Was Silvanus a trusted brother of Paul’s? Seems like it.

      If you took the time to compare both letters you would see that they linguistically different. I doubt that Peter went from virtually illiterate to one who could write in formal Greek in a few short years. You may want to invest in some good study bibles that shows cross references with other texts. 2 Peter uses Jude, he quotes 1st Thessalonians, and over 30 of the verses agree (about half) with various letters of Paul. So 1 option is Peter & Paul agree often & another is that the text was written by someone not Peter in the mid-2nd century or later.

      • “With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly.”
        [1 Peter 5:12] Sounds like a secretary to me.
        Peter didn’t mention Silas or anyone else helping him write his second letter, near the end of his life, so it was decades after Jesus rose from the dead, not “a few short years.” So if they are authentic, the two letters of Peter SHOULD be “linguistically different.”

        Despite Paul’s “name dropping”, there is no real evidence that he ever worked with Silas (or Mark) after he broke company with them. He was probably just playing politics, trying to make it appear they were still connected when the opposite was true, and they were avoiding him….

        Peter and Paul might agree on a particular point regarding the “end times,” or be quoting the same third party sources. That does not imply “endorsement” or that they agreed on everything. I could agree with Catholics about marriage being one man and one woman without affirming their many heresies about many other things like Mary worship, papal infallibility, etc.

        • Yedidiah says:

          Again, I suggest that you get a good study bible or one that cross references verses, rather than speculating and coming up with something that fits your pre-conceived notion. Some versions of bibles are more literally translated than others. So by the ones I read, it reads that he is sending his letter through or by Silas, especially since the note comes near the end of letter. And since Peter is not carrying his own letter, but Silas is sent. Plus there is no reason for Peter to mention Silas helping if he is just the scribe. If he really needed help, maybe in the 2nd one, he just didn’t mention since he didnt need to. But then how did Peter or Silas learn how to write in formal Greek in such a short period of time? Since by the content of 1Pe, it was written in about the mid-sixties & 2Pe was supposed to be about 67-68 when Peter supposedly died, there would be only a few years difference not decades. But the big problem is how did Peter know all these things that would be present in the movement only in the 2nd century. Unless you believe like Paul when he wrote about all those different heresies & gospels happening within 30 years after Jesus died. You seem to think Jesus’ movement started to fall apart even sooner than most skeptics or scholars believe happened. And not all that heresy could be blamed on Paul (or Marcion, 90-100 years later), but the blame would fall on Peter, John, & James, etc. And you apologetics is getting sillier, when you speculated that Paul was playing politics(?) & dropping names(?).

          • Yedidiah,
            The notes in your study Bible are not “the word of God”, and may have selective cross-references which support a certain agenda, while choosing to leave out other cross-references which do not support that agenda. I’ve stated some facts from the text of Peter’s letters which you have not refuted, (what they say and what don’t say) and I’ll now leave these for you and other readers to decide on.

            An example of bias in cross-referencing is Mark 7:9-13.
            I have never seen a single Study Bible that references Leviticus chapter 27. (I had to read the entire Torah for myself to discover that.) This lack of cross-reference leads people to believe that Jesus was blasting a completely baseless “tradition of the Pharisees”, when in fact it was really a bad INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION of Leviticus 27. As LarryB and CP have been saying, it was about “what they did,” ignoring the spirit of the Law in the 10 commandments and instead hiring lawyers to create an “offshore tax shelter” to get around the Law on a fabricated technicality.

            Based on my detailed study of Acts, I stand by the following assertion:
            Despite Paul’s “name dropping”, there is no real evidence that he ever worked with Silas (or Mark) after he broke company with them.

            If you disagree and can produce specific Scripture references to the contrary, in Acts or anywhere else besides Paul’s letters, please produce them, and I will answer them specifically.

          • Yedidiah says:

            Matt P. In your reply to my comment above. If one believes there is a bias in one source, you have countless other bible versions or studies or references. Some are based more on the most literal, some offer only notes that apply to their translation. So, I did a very quick glance in my Logos app, and see that ESV & NIV bibles contain that reference to Leviticus. The NET Bible Notes Full Notes & The Harper Collins Study Notes among others have reference to it. To limit disagreements with what you say or write, you need to watch your qualifiers; instead of using terms like all or none, use almost all, many, most, some, few, rarely, etc.

            Your study of Acts was not even a quick glance at Paul’s writings which you can look up. Perhaps what you call “name dropping” (for what reason, since his letter is not to Peter or John, etc?) might be called evidence to an unbiased reader.

          • Yedidiah,
            I’m glad you found some sources that reference Leviticus 27 relating to Jesus’ teaching in Mark 7. I’m not responsible for knowing every source in the world available. I can only speak of my own experience, which is limited, yet broader than some others.

            I have been actively following Jesus for over 20 years, and I got my Masters Degree at Dallas Theological Seminary, which is famous for doing expository teaching on all 66 Books of the Bible. I have listened to many thousands of sermons and teachings, and heard this passage from Mark 7 taught or referenced maybe a dozen times, yet there was never any reference to Leviticus 27. That is my experience, and I believe it reflects the general view and mindset of the American “Christian” Church.

            My assertion about Paul “name dropping” in his letters, vs. Luke’s record in Acts, stands. Again, if you want to bring up specific points please do so. I see that Luke was indeed biased toward Paul and sort of “covered for him” and reported his flaws without comment, yet Luke seemed to have a certain line he would not cross. For example, exposing Paul’s false claim that he was going to Jerusalem “compelled by the Spirit”, and that he had been in Ephesus working hard for 3 years, when really it was only 2 years and 3 months….

  18. peri, i don’t think peter was marks informant or that matthew was an eyewitness

    72Immediately the rooster crowed the second time.h Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twicei you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

    the only thing peter could remember was disowning jesus? is this what peter wanted mark to say?
    or is it mark who has seen peter as a liar , denier and fraud?

    8Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.a

    this means that the readers would have thought that the ONLY thing peter remembered was DENIAL.

  19. Concerned Reader says:

    “It would appear we are wrestling with an age old question of the past 2000 years; namely to practice the religion OF Yeshua or a religion ABOUT Yeshua.”

    The religion of Yeshua was Judaism, so, there is that to consider. There would not be a Christianity at all if people were interested in the religion that Jesus practiced in his daily life.

    If Jesus was here and saw Christmas trees, the Eucharist, monks and nuns, crucifixes, etc. he would probably run frantically to a Synagogue and ask “what is all this stuff about guys?” That conversation is the one I would like to see.

  20. Concerned Reader says:

    An insight into the early Christian movement

    It happened, Jesus was crucified. His students were devastated. After a while, the disciples had visions. Some even said and wrote that they touched the body of their teacher. Jesus was said to have told them when they attempted to cleave to him, “do not hold onto me, for I have not ascended to my father.”
    The disciples went to the Pharisees and said, Jesus is alive, and though he was handed over to the Romans by the priests, G-d wants to bless us all through his suffering. Many who are believing in the ressurection are “zealous for the law.”
    Many Pharisees having heard this news were receptive, and cut to the heart and said, “brothers, what shall we do?”
    When the authorities were told about the preaching of Jesus’ students, Gamliel told the Pharisees to leave the disciples in peace. It was a very moderate response to their preaching. We are told the Sadducees sent Paul to harrass the Christian people. I ask you, who was more moderate? Who more charitable?
    Just like any messianism in Jewish history since the time of the second temple, the Jewish response to the Jesus movement was, “lets wait and see how it pans out.” Eventually, this wait and see approach wasn’t enough for the messianist beiever.
    They said, “no the Torah is not enough, you must believe that our rabbi is the annointed one, or he will not come and finish redemption! Your zeal for the Torah and its ethics are not enough, in fact it hasn’t ever been enough for us to follow the instructions.”

    I was thinking about this issue the other day. I was noticing that Christians have been so worried about proving Jesus’ messianism from Jewish scriptural sources, that they have overlooked something absolutely remarkable historically speaking.
    What have you missed? What has been missed is that You and your movement are not the only people in Jewish history to believe in the redemptive suffering of a rabbi, you are not the only ones who have thought your rabbi was the best and only fit, and you are not the only ones who believe your master will return. You are not the only ones that view your teacher’s halachic innovations to be on par with G-d’s instructions. You are not the only ones.

    Being that you are not the only ones who believe those things, why do you still have to argue with rabbis about which verses mean what? Its not about the verses. Again, your group is not the only group to claim what you claim. WE ALL AGREE WE ARE WAITING FOR THE BIG PICTURE TO BE FULFILLED! WE ARE ALL WAITING!
    You say Isaiah 53 is and must be about Jesus, while others claim their rabbi (and only that rabbi) fits that description. It crossed my mind that the Pharisees were fine with Jesus’ ethics, they had a tempered attitude, while the early Christian movement was NOT OK with a wait and see attitude. The wait and see approach was seen as an excuse to be “unholy.”
    Something Christians, (and other messianic groups) always overlook, is that “wait and see” was the Jewish approach to Moses.
    Moses showed up, and people had questions. Moses spoke to G-d, and even he himself had questions about his own role. Wait and see was the wisest attitude to hold, and still is.
    Since we can say historically that Jesus like messianism is no longer unique to Christians, why can’t we just focus on what is clear and agreed upon. THE ETHICS OF JESUS! Was it not Jesus who said that he who does is his follower? Doing does not require adherance to messianism, it just requires doing. Christian brothers and sisters, your Jewish sisters and brothers are already doing.

  21. CP says:

    @Concerned Reader

    “We are told the Sadducees sent Paul to harrass the Christian people.”

    >I’ve wondered what in the world a “Pharisee of Pharisees” is doing working for a Sadducee?

    I think everyone agrees on the ethics of Yeshua, but it would be extremely difficult to accept a messiah murdered by ones religious leaders, then accepted by the enemy and turned into something more pagan than Jewish.

    I would love to see Judaism wrestle back Yeshua from the perverting clutches of the Gentiles!

  22. Parable of the Wacky New Religion

    “SNAKE WORSHIPPER” and “PAULIST” make plans to start their own wacky new religion, “based on the Bible”.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: I think people make too big a deal about Jesus. Who do they think he is- God? Do they think Jesus is the only way to be saved? The Bible says, “So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived. ”[Numbers 21:9] People are saved by looking at a snake. What do we need Jesus for? We should just keep it simple.

    PAULIST: Right on! Who needs a “Jesus Movement?” I say what we really need is a “Paul Movement!” But as to your comment, I think Christians would say that the salvation referred to there was only temporary salvation from snake poison, for the Israelites at a particular time. And it pointed to the future, to Jesus dying on the cross to save us from our sins.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: Don’t confuse the issue with facts! That verse is my favorite verse in Scripture. It says it right there in black and white. So my personal interpretation of this one verse is the trump card that negates all other verses of Scripture about salvation. Are you questioning the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures?

    PAULIST: Of course, you must be right! If you quote one verse out of context, insist that it means something that contradicts other verses of Scripture, and then accuse me of questioning the inerrancy of Scripture if I disagree with your personal interpretation, than you must be correct. How foolish of me. Please continue.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: So that’s it. Just look to the serpent and be saved. Never mind about Jesus.

    PAULIST: But the Bible tells us: “He (King Hezekiah) broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it.” [2 Kings 18:4] So Christians would say that this snake had become an idol, which the godly King Hezekiah destroyed.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: Bah! Hezekiah was like Judas, who betrayed the true salvation! We snake worshippers know better. We must restore true worship.

    PAULIST: OK. If that is your personal interpretation of one verse of Scripture, then you must be correct. But my favorite verses of Scripture are from Paul writing to the church in Corinth: “In Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” [1 Corinthians 4:15-16]

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: But Christians would remind us what the Bible says: “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: ‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach… They love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi’. But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi’, for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father”, for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher’, for you have one Teacher, the Christ (or Messiah).’” [Matthew 23:1-3, 7-10]

    PAULIST: Don’t confuse the issue with facts! Those 2 verses from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians are my favorite verses in Scripture. It says it right there in black and white. So my personal interpretation of these two verses is the trump card that negates all other verses of Scripture. Are you questioning the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures?

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: Of course, you must be right! If you quote two verses out of context, insist that they mean something that contradicts many other verses of Scripture, and then accuse me of questioning the inerrancy of Scripture if I disagree with your personal interpretation, than you must be correct. How foolish of me. Please continue.

    PAULIST: So that’s it. Paul is our father, and we should “be like Paul”. Paul also testified about himself without any other witnesses: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” [1 Corinthians 11:1] So that has to mean that to “be like Paul” is the same thing as to “be like Christ”, and Paul lived a perfect life as a Christian, everything Paul did was 100% correct and everyone around him was wrong, and Paul is our perfect model for life and ministry. Unless all men speak well of Paul and everything Paul ever did, said, or wrote about himself, they are heretics who are denying the inerrancy of Scripture. What other possible interpretation could there be?

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: Yes of course! That is the only possible choice. Well since we’re starting our own wacky new religion, we need some of the trappings of religion. How about a slogan and a rallying cry?

    PAULIST: I’ve got it! “There is no god but the serpent, and Paul is his prophet”! Our rallying cry can be “Paul is great!”

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: That has a familiar ring to it somehow…

    PAULIST: We’ll make people take a religious pilgrimage once in their lives- we’ll call the pilgrimage the “Journey of Paul”. It will go from Galatia (present day Turkey) to Antioch (present day Syria) and to Jerusalem, so we can “be like Paul” and do the things Paul did.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: Tell me more.

    PAULIST: In Galatia, the pilgrims will go and circumcise some young men, [Acts 16:3] and then yell at them “You foolish Galatians” [Galatians 3:1] because they got circumcised.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: But in the Bible, Paul taught passionately, over and over, that Christians should never be circumcised under any circumstances, and Jesus said “Anyone who says ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” [Matthew 5:22]

    PAULIST: What are you, a liberal? Only liberals criticize Paul. Conservatives have an instant, airtight justification for everything Paul ever did or said. If you criticize Paul that means you’re a liberal who is attacking Jesus.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: Of course- carry on.

    PAULIST: At Antioch, the pilgrims must have a sharp disagreement and part company with whomever they are with. [Acts 15:39] If they are married, they must get divorced. If they have children, they must disown them. If they are with friends, they must separate.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: But in the Bible, Paul wrote to Timothy “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer without anger or disputing.” [1 Timothy 2:8]

    PAULIST: Paul meant for that to apply to everyone else except him. Paul is an exception. Paul is always the exception to the rule. If Paul disputed, he must have been right. Remember in the inerrant Scripture, Paul testified about himself “follow my example”.

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: Yes of course.

    PAULIST: Luke records Paul as saying “compelled the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.” [Acts 20:22] So since Paul said this about himself, that has to mean it was true, and we should “be like Paul.”

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: But Luke, who was personally traveling with Paul to Jerusalem at that time, also wrote “Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.” [Acts 21:4]

    PAULIST: What are you, a left-wing liberal heretic who is attacking Jesus and the Bible?

    SNAKE WORSHIPPER: OK. Lets just keep true to our foundations as a religion. Just look to the serpent and be saved. Paul is our father, and we should “be like Paul”.

    • Yedidiah says:

      You need to send this to a “Paulist”, LOL. But don’t think that Jesus isn’t similarly mocked. And Torah as well.

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